- An example of dictate is when you order someone to complete tasks on a list.
- An example of dictate is when you tell your secretary what to write in a letter for you.
intransitive verb-·tat·ed, -·tat·ing
- to speak or read (something) aloud for someone else to write down
- to prescribe or command forcefully
- to impose or give (orders) with or as with authority
- to give (orders or instructions) arbitrarily
Origin of dictatefrom Classical Latin dictatus, past participle of dictare, frequentative of dicere, to speak: see diction
- an authoritative command
- a guiding principle or requirement: the dictates of conscience
verbdic·tat·ed, dic·tat·ing, dic·tates
- To say or read aloud to be recorded or written by another: dictate a letter.
- a. To prescribe with authority; impose: dictated the rules of the game.b. To control or command: “Foreign leaders were … dictated by their own circumstances, bound by the universal imperatives of politics” ( Doris Kearns Goodwin )
- To say or read aloud material to be recorded or written by another: dictated for an hour before leaving for the day.
- To issue orders or commands.
- A directive; a command.
- a. An underlying constraint: “These men make numerous decisions affecting how they organize their lives according to the dictates of time and place” ( William Marsiglio )b. A guiding principle: followed the dictates of my conscience.
Origin of dictateLatin dictāre dictāt- frequentative of dīcere to say ; see deik- in Indo-European roots.
(third-person singular simple present dictates, present participle dictating, simple past and past participle dictated)
From Latin dictātus, perfect passive participle of dictō (“pronounce or declare repeatedly; dictate”), frequentative of dīcō (“say, speak”).