dik·​tat | \ dik-ˈtät How to pronounce diktat (audio) \

Definition of diktat

1 : a harsh settlement unilaterally imposed (as on a defeated nation)
2 : decree, order

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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 In contrast to Kering's company-wide diktat, its larger rival LVMH is leaving the decision up to each individual brand's creative director. Phil Wahba, Fortune, 24 Sep. 2021 The latest evidence is the 5-4 ruling late Friday slapping down another California pandemic diktat on the freedom of worship. The Editorial Board, WSJ, 11 Apr. 2021 Officials from Britain, Germany, Italy, and France have complained that despite Biden’s promises of consultation, there has been more diktat than conversation on Afghanistan. BostonGlobe.com, 23 Aug. 2021 As Daniel Henninger of the Wall Street Journal has noted, the state bans are a reaction to an educational diktat that race be the central topic of class discussions. Daniel J. Samet, National Review, 4 July 2021 Back-action evasion is a way of getting around this limitation without actually violating Heisenberg’s diktat. Daniel Garisto, Scientific American, 6 May 2021 An ecological diktat that could signal the end of French gastronomy, even French culture! New York Times, 18 Mar. 2021 Following the diktat of the programmer to maximize the game score, the algorithm did so and figured out the rules of the game over thousands and thousands trials. Christof Koch, Scientific American, 19 Mar. 2016 President Biden issued a blizzard of executive orders on his first day in office, including a diktat to revoke the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline. The Editorial Board, WSJ, 20 Jan. 2021

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

borrowed from German Diktat "imposition, command," borrowed from Medieval Latin dictātum — more at dictate entry 2

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Last Updated

27 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Diktat.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/diktat. Accessed 28 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for diktat



English Language Learners Definition of diktat

: an order that must be followed


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