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[dik-shuh n] /ˈdɪk ʃən/
style of speaking or writing as dependent upon choice of words:
good diction.
the accent, inflection, intonation, and speech-sound quality manifested by an individual speaker, usually judged in terms of prevailing standards of acceptability; enunciation.
late Middle English
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
Related forms
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. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for diction
  • 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.
  • Boles has an elegant but almost mournful style, with sluggish diction and delivery.
  • The packaging insists that you pronounce the name "grape-l," but I'm not used to taking diction lessons from fruit packaging.
  • The charm of the poem lies in its simplicity of thought and diction.
  • For that reason, they are among the most important elements of good writing, far more so than diction or even syntax.
  • The diction embodies all the vices against which the new poetry rebelled.
  • His temperament goes against realism; so does his diction, which can be the vocal equivalent of a dancer's hyperextension.
British Dictionary definitions for diction


the choice and use of words in writing or speech
the manner of uttering or enunciating words and sounds; elocution
Word Origin
C15: from Latin dictiō a saying, mode of expression, from dīcere to speak, say
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for diction

1540s, "a word;" 1580s, "expression of ideas in words," from Late Latin dictionem (nominative dictio) "a saying, expression, word," noun of action from dic-, past participle stem of Latin dicere "speak, tell, say" (source of French dire "to say"), related to dicare "proclaim, dedicate," from PIE root *deik- "to point out" (cf. Sanskrit dic- "point out, show," Greek deiknynai "to prove," Latin digitus "finger," Old High German zeigon, German zeigen "to show," Old English teon "to accuse," tæcan "to teach").

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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diction in Culture

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 Article for 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.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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