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

Definition of diktat

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

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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 Yet Justice Scalia dissented because the Court was imposing policy preferences by diktat. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "Who’s Afraid of Amy Coney Barrett?," 13 Oct. 2020 Theaters, alas, can’t overcome the six-foot rule, that social distance diktat pulled from a hat by some boob public-health lifer whose idea of culture is online solitaire. Brian T. Allen, National Review, "Timely Reminder in Dallas: Great Art Is Thrilling to Look At," 29 Aug. 2020 An earthquake in Utah can take a factory offline as quickly as a diktat from Beijing. Kevin D. Williamson, National Review, "‘More Cowbell!’," 26 Mar. 2020 Both defenders and the critics start from the premise that government diktats are the only variable here. Jonah Goldberg, National Review, "Curve-Flattening a Result of Behavioral Change, Not Central Planning," 10 Apr. 2020 These include reservations from the family, limitations imposed by societal and religious diktats, etc. Geetika Dayal, Quartz India, "India’s female entrepreneurs can influence a generation—only if given enough support," 5 Mar. 2020 Liberals accept that the business world operates according to the principles of property rights and free exchange, rather than the popular will, and that individuals possess basic rights that cannot be overruled by democratic diktat. The Economist, "Jeremy Corbyn’s political agenda is more radical than his economic one," 30 Nov. 2019 At the same time, policy is now being driven by economics, not government diktat. Washington Post, "Voters Won’t Decide the Future of Energy," 20 Sep. 2019 The Administrative Procedure Act is intended to ensure regulatory due process, but Democrats have weaponized the law to entrench Obama Administration diktats that do the opposite. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "An Obama Zombie Returns," 1 Apr. 2019

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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The first known use of diktat was in 1933

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Last Updated

20 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Diktat.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/diktat. Accessed 20 Oct. 2020.

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How to pronounce diktat (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of diktat

disapproving : an order that must be followed

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