dik·​tat | \dik-ˈtät \

Definition of diktat 

1 : a harsh settlement unilaterally imposed (as on a defeated nation)

2 : decree, order

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Did You Know?

In diktat you might recognize the English word dictate. Both words derive from Latin dictare ("to assert" or "to dictate"), a form of dicere ("to say"). Diktat passed through German where it meant "something dictated." Dictate can mean both "to speak words aloud to be transcribed" and "to issue a command or injunction," the sense of the word that gave us dictator. Germans, beginning with Prince Wilhelm, used diktat in a negative way to refer to the Treaty of Versailles, the document ending World War I. Today diktat can be used as a critical term for even minor regulations felt to be unfair or authoritarian.

Examples of diktat in a Sentence

The company president issued a diktat that employees may not wear jeans to work. a democratic government has to be something wanted by that nation's citizens and not something created by a foreign power's diktat

Recent Examples on the Web

Other diktats caution against conveying any sense of Chinese superiority, or claims that China can easily crush America in a trade war. The Economist, "In its trade war with America, China dials down the hype," 12 July 2018 It’s hard to imagine a more highhanded elite dismissal of public opinion than Mr. Mattarella’s diktat. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "Italy’s New Threat to the Euro," 28 May 2018 But her death also released him, psychically, from the vanished world of the fin-de-siècle black élite, with its asphyxiating diktats. Tobi Haslett, The New Yorker, "The Man Who Led the Harlem Renaissance—and His Hidden Hungers," 11 May 2018 The hammer is that the commission can hold up a license renewal if these diktats aren’t followed, complete with extensive reporting requirements. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "Operation Muppet Freedom," 25 Apr. 2018 Orbán responded by spreading fears of an influx of terrorists and criminals, of a poisoning of Hungarian culture, and expressing visceral nationalist hostility to the diktats of the European Union. Andrew Sullivan, Daily Intelligencer, "A Democracy Disappears," 13 Apr. 2018 Of the 10 American businesses that declare more than $5 billion of sales in the country, three — Apple Inc., Las Vegas Sands Corp. and Procter & Gamble Co. — are dependent on consumer spending, so probably somewhat immune to government diktats. David Fickling, latimes.com, "Trump just set Boeing on a collision course with China," 2 Mar. 2018 The diktats of social realism do not allow for the supernatural on stage. Cynthia Haven, New York Times, "Ismail Kadare Grapples With the Supernatural," 23 Feb. 2018 Mr Zhou also steered China towards a system in which banks set interest rates themselves, rather than merely follow government diktats. The Economist, "No ordinary ZhouZhou Xiaochuan, China’s central-bank chief, is about to retire," 1 Feb. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'diktat.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of diktat

1933, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for diktat

German, literally, something dictated, from New Latin dictatum, from Latin, neuter of dictatus, past participle of dictare to dictate

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Last Updated

17 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for diktat

The first known use of diktat was in 1933

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English Language Learners Definition of diktat

: an order that must be followed

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