dik·​tat dik-ˈtät How to pronounce diktat (audio)
: a harsh settlement unilaterally imposed (as on a defeated nation)

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 Pursuing that outcome would represent neither a capitulation to terrorism nor a submission to American diktats. Ami Ayalon, Foreign Affairs, 11 Apr. 2024 Fiala’s predecessor, Andrej Babis, is similarly aligned with Fico’s camp, a populist wary of E.U. diktat and more friendly to Moscow. Ishaan Tharoor, Washington Post, 20 Mar. 2024 Netanyahu’s plan rejects any unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state and all international diktats regarding the terms of a permanent Israeli-Palestinian agreement. Ehud Barak, Foreign Affairs, 1 Mar. 2024 Asian countries would not eagerly accept Beijing’s diktats, but absent Washington’s intervention, their options would be limited. Andrew S. Erickson, Foreign Affairs, 16 Feb. 2024 Many of the measures were approved by an overwhelming majority of the judges, with an Israeli judge even voting in favor of two of the half dozen diktats imposed. Alexander Smith, NBC News, 26 Jan. 2024 Doctors carry themselves with an aura of authority that is often combined with an aversion to answering questions in favor of issuing diktats. Matt Farwell, Harper's Magazine, 13 Dec. 2023 Even though such an accord would not require countries to cede national authority and follow diktats of the WHO in a health emergency, it is already being framed as such in some quarters. Helen Branswell, STAT, 22 Dec. 2023 Rural aristocrats, whose writ once determined tribal policy, are now subject to the diktats of young militia commanders. Alex De Waal, Foreign Affairs, 18 Sep. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'diktat.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

1933, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of diktat was in 1933


Dictionary Entries Near diktat

Cite this Entry

“Diktat.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/diktat. Accessed 19 Jun. 2024.

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