: a proclamation having the force of law
: order, command
we held firm to Grandmother's edictM. F. K. Fisher
edictal 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 In a previous interview with The Times, McKinney took aim at Gascón’s edicts to limit misdemeanors and bar prosecutors from accompanying victims at parole hearings. James Queally, Los Angeles Times, 22 Oct. 2023 Others lament the inability to enroll their girls in schools, given the draconian edicts of the extremists in charge in Kabul. Ishaan Tharoor, Washington Post, 6 Nov. 2023 Women may be at greater risk of being unprepared for quakes because of Taliban edicts curtailing their mobility and rights, and restrictions imposed on female humanitarian workers, a U.N. report has warned. Staff, The Christian Science Monitor, 12 Oct. 2023 As with so many American fashion edicts, though, its origins can be traced back to the elite of the Gilded Age. Elise Taylor, Vogue, 1 Sep. 2023 An employee pressed Jassy for data supporting a return to office edict, according to Insider. Paul Davidson, USA TODAY, 30 Aug. 2023 Some policy changes, such as loosening penalties for abortions, could be done through ministry edicts. Annabelle Chapman, Washington Post, 16 Oct. 2023 Today Madan is sober, with a wife and child and a commitment, half a century after Birendra’s edict, to legalize cannabis in Nepal. Sean Williams, Harper's Magazine, 11 Sep. 2023 In addition to the dry, shifting soil, the leaks result from the brittleness of aging pipes and a high demand on the city’s water infrastructure despite the conservation appeals and edicts. WIRED, 9 Sep. 2023 See More

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

Word History


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

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near edict

Cite this Entry

“Edict.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/edict. Accessed 2 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


: a law or order made or given by an authority (as a ruler)
edictal adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on edict

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