- 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 dictated
The remainder is “peculiar” motion: movement of galaxies as dictated by the presence of matter nearby.Laniakea: The Milky Way’s Place in the Heavens
Matthew R. Francis
September 7, 2014
I dictated a return note thanking him for the thoughtful gift and encouraging note.Rebels Rise Again Over Flag Banning
July 28, 2014
Power in Washington was dictated by seniority for generations.Voters Hate Seniors More Than Crooks; Can Thad Cochran Survive That?
June 24, 2014
The sentence is dictated by statute and therefore the defendant gets next to no payoff for his guilty plea.How Justin Bieber Can Beat His DUI
Eboni K. Williams
February 26, 2014
The order of words in a book is dictated by the linear nature of the medium.Why We Should Read World History
December 25, 2013
It was as if some will independent of my own had dictated the words.The Bacillus of Beauty
So Betty dictated and he wrote: yes, it had come to this—she dictated and he wrote, and signed too.Fair Margaret
H. Rider Haggard
Sure I am that your conduct is not dictated by a regard for my ease or my welfare.Imogen
I feared that you might misunderstand the motives which have dictated my conduct.Vivian Grey
Earl of Beaconsfield, Benjamin Disraeli
Old Mme. Rougon must have dictated it; he could hear in it the very inflections of her voice.Doctor Pascal
- 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 dictated
1590s, from Latin dictatum "something dictated," noun use of neuter past participle of dictare (see dictate (v.)).
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.