- 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 dictating
I made my way, on hands and knees, to a bed near the dictating voice.Whip It: Secrets of a Dominatrix
November 25, 2014
And he would — Clinton would get very deeply involved in editing the drafts and dictating new language.Clinton, Bush, and Obama Speechwriters on How They Made the State of the Union Address
January 27, 2014
So the first step is reading and interviewing, then dictating my notes.How I Write: Jared Diamond
November 20, 2013
Even in his letters, dictating his letters, he would say everything twice.Murder, Sex, and the Writing Life: Norman Mailer’s Biography
Ronald K. Fried
November 19, 2013
John Gielgud, says Welles, “used to play Shakespeare as though he were dictating it to his secretary.”Go Fuck Yourself
July 18, 2013
Yet the superscription is of his dictating, I dare say, for he is a formal wretch.Clarissa, Volume 1 (of 9)
He found him dictating to his secretary, a great pile of letters before him.The Destroyer
Burton Egbert Stevenson
Is there any objection to my dictating a letter to Miss Winthrop?The Wall Street Girl
Frederick Orin Bartlett
You don't set up the pretension of dictating to me what I am to do with what's my own.A Set of Six
You don't set up the pretension of dictating to me what I am to do with what is my own.The Point Of Honor
- 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 dictating
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.