- to say or read (something) aloud for another person to transcribe or for a machine to record: to dictate some letters to a secretary.
- to prescribe or lay down authoritatively or peremptorily; command unconditionally: to dictate peace terms to a conquered enemy.
- to say or read aloud something to be written down by a person or recorded by a machine.
- to give orders.
- an authoritative order or command.
- a guiding or governing principle, requirement, etc.: to follow the dictates of one's conscience.
Origin of dictate
SynonymsSee more synonyms for dictate on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for dictate
Because the federal government really should dictate all that, right?Now Let’s Replace All the Other Big-Spending Eric Cantors
June 11, 2014
How could I forget his dictate to always be proud to be a Jew, even in circumstances when it might not seem to ones advantage?A Jewish Ex-Con Recalls Keeping Kosher with the Faithful in Prison
May 11, 2014
Because of rising gas prices, economics will dictate growing food closer to the consumer year round.America’s Next Agricultural Revolution Will Happen Indoors
April 26, 2014
The news possesses “the power to dictate what our idea of ‘other people’ will be like.”What is the News? Whatever Alain de Botton Thinks It Is
February 20, 2014
And these algorithms can dictate behavior and then punish players who dismiss them.My Xbox One Won’t Let Me Swear
December 8, 2013
And I cannot tell what turn my mind had taken to dictate so oddly to my pen.Clarissa, Volume 1 (of 9)
The cot was placed on the floor, and he continued to dictate from it.The Life of Horatio Lord Nelson
I do not presume to dictate to you your friendships or your dislikes.Alice, or The Mysteries, Complete
I've got such an awful lot of stuff that I want to dictate it right off the bat.The Harbor
The head must dictate and govern my actions, all else submitting.
- to say (messages, letters, speeches, etc) aloud for mechanical recording or verbatim transcription by another person
- (tr) to prescribe (commands) authoritatively
- (intr) to act in a tyrannical manner; seek to impose one's will on others
- an authoritative command
- a guiding principle or rulethe dictates of reason
Word Origin and History for dictate
1590s, "to practice dictation, say aloud for another to write down," from Latin dictatus, past participle of dictare "say often, prescribe," frequentative of dicere "tell, say" (see diction). Sense of "to command" is 1620s. Related: Dictated; dictates; dictating.
1590s, from Latin dictatum "something dictated," noun use of neuter past participle of dictare (see dictate (v.)).