diction

[dik-shuhn]
noun
1.
style of speaking or writing as dependent upon choice of words: good diction.
2.
the accent, inflection, intonation, and speech-sound quality manifested by an individual speaker, usually judged in terms of prevailing standards of acceptability; enunciation.

Origin:
1400–50; late Middle English diccion < Late Latin dictiōn- (stem of dictiō) word, Latin: rhetorical delivery, equivalent to dict(us) said, spoken (past participle of dīcere) + -iōn- -ion

dictional, adjective
dictionally, adverb


1. usage, language. Diction, phraseology, wording refer to the means and the manner of expressing ideas. Diction usually implies a high level of usage; it refers chiefly to the choice of words, their arrangement, and the force, accuracy, and distinction with which they are used: The speaker was distinguished for his excellent diction; poetic diction. Phraseology refers more to the manner of combining the words into related groups, and especially to the peculiar or distinctive manner in which certain technical, scientific, and professional ideas are expressed: legal phraseology. Wording refers to the exact words or phraseology used to convey thought: the wording of a will.
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
diction (ˈdɪkʃən)
 
n
1.  the choice and use of words in writing or speech
2.  the manner of uttering or enunciating words and sounds; elocution
 
[C15: from Latin dictiō a saying, mode of expression, from dīcere to speak, say]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

diction
1540s, from L.L. dictionem (nom. dictio), from L. "a saying, expression, word," from dic-, stem of dicere "speak, tell, say," related to dicare "proclaim, dedicate," from PIE base *deik- "to point out" (cf. Skt. dic- "point out, show," Gk. deiknynai "to prove," O.H.G. zeigon, Ger. zeigen "to show," O.E.
teon "to accuse," tæcan "to teach").
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary

diction definition


The choice of words. Diction is effective when words are appropriate to an audience. A man might refer to his car as his “wheels” in casual conversation with a friend, but if he were writing an essay for a group of economists, he would write, “People base their decision to buy an automobile on the following considerations,” not “People base their decision to buy wheels on the following considerations.”

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Encyclopedia Britannica
Encyclopedia

diction

choice of words, especially with regard to correctness, clearness, or effectiveness. Any of the four generally accepted levels of diction-formal, informal, colloquial, or slang-may be correct in a particular context but incorrect in another or when mixed unintentionally. Most ideas have a number of alternate words that the writer can select to suit his purposes. "Children," "kids," "youngsters," "youths," and "brats," for example, all have different evocative values.

Learn more about diction with a free trial on Britannica.com.

Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
Post-communist newscasts feature telegraphic speech and slurry diction.
Thrown threw her window????? We need to watch our diction.
Winchester reads rapidly, but his diction is so precise (yet never stuffy) that
  not a word is lost.
Applicants should be prepared to teach private studio voice instruction, voice
  diction, and opera workshop.
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