\ˈē-ˌdikt \

Definition of edict 

1 : a proclamation having the force of law

2 : order, command we held firm to Grandmother's edict— M. F. K. Fisher

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Other Words from edict

edictal \ i-​ˈdik-​tᵊl \ adjective

Did You Know?

Edicts are few and far between in a democracy, since very few important laws can be made by a president or prime minister acting alone. But when a crisis arose in the Roman Republic, the senate would appoint a dictator, who would have the power to rule by edict. The idea was that the dictator could make decisions quickly, issuing his edicts faster than the senate could act. When the crisis was over, the edicts were canceled and the dictator usually retired from public life. Things are different today: dictators almost always install themselves in power, and they never give it up.

Examples of edict in a Sentence

The government issued an edict banning public demonstrations. the school board's edict put a new student dress code into effect

Recent Examples on the Web

The negotiations to secure the right to keep mining Grasberg until 2041 had already been complicated by an edict that foreign miners sell majority stakes in their assets to local interests. Danielle Bochove, Bloomberg.com, "Giant Waste-Spewing Mine Turns Into a Battleground in Indonesia," 5 June 2018 The bombing occurred just hours after attendees issued an unprecedented religious edict that condemned such attacks as violations of Islam. James Hohmann, Washington Post, "The Daily 202: RFK’s speech in apartheid South Africa remains relevant 50 years after his assassination," 5 June 2018 But the league came out with Wednesday’s goofy, hard and fast edict designed to satisfy, or pacify, all involved with a line down the middle. Mike Anthony, courant.com, "Mike Anthony: NFL's Approach To Anthem Protests Is Simple, Illogical," 27 May 2018 Do unto others is apparently not an across-the-board Christian edict; Save Thy Hide is. Mac Engel, star-telegram, "Baylor has no shame after regents 'scapegoated' black football players in rape scandal," 27 June 2018 Despite edicts from above and earnest efforts from within police forces, uniting cops and communities in a deep and lasting way remains a theory rather than a practice. Ben Austen, The New Republic, "How one American city chose to tackle crime, combat racism, and reckon with the legacy of police brutality," 21 June 2018 Romans 13 has a history of being used by government officials in defense of their decisions or edicts. Dakota Crawford, Indianapolis Star, "Sessions cites Romans 13 to defend Trump's immigration policy, raises Christians' ire," 15 June 2018 Trump exceeded his authority, said the coalition, which asked the U.S. District Court in Washington to block enforcement of the edicts. Joe Davidson, Washington Post, "Trump’s attacks on federal employee unions, pay and benefits draw bipartisan rebukes," 15 June 2018 However, Ivey’s office has cited the most recent opinion on the issue, offered in 2011 by former attorney general and current senator Luther Strange, as the basis for the governor’s latest edict. Kaylen Ralph, Teen Vogue, "Alabama Sheriffs Might Not Be Able to Pocket Leftover Prisoner Food Funding Anymore," 12 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'edict.' 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 edict

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for edict

Middle English, from Latin edictum, from neuter of edictus, past participle of edicere to decree, from e- + dicere to say — more at diction

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Statistics for edict

Last Updated

19 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for edict

The first known use of edict was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for edict



English Language Learners Definition of edict

: an official order given by a person with power or by a government


\ˈē-ˌdikt \

Kids Definition of edict

: a command or law given or made by an authority (as a ruler)

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Comments on edict

What made you want to look up edict? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


obstinately defiant of authority

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