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[v. dik-teyt, dik-teyt; n. dik-teyt] /v. ˈdɪk teɪt, dɪkˈteɪt; n. ˈdɪk teɪt/
verb (used with object), dictated, dictating.
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.
verb (used without object), dictated, dictating.
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
1585-95; < Latin dictātus, past participle of dictāre to say repeatedly, prescribe, order, frequentative of dīcere to say
Related forms
dictatingly, adverb
misdictated, adjective
predictate, verb (used with object), predictated, predictating.
redictate, verb, redictated, redictating.
undictated, adjective
6. bidding, urging, prompting. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for dictated
  • Innovation should not be dictated by a needless government agency.
  • Formal dress dictated that females wear such intimate, and often uncomfortable, articles of clothing.
  • In ancient times, authors often dictated their books.
  • In it's purest form science is not dictated by human views but it is shaped by the evidence so it will change with new evidence.
  • What's more, tolerance in bats-as in humans-may be dictated in part by how often and how much a bat drinks.
  • Animal life and activity are dictated by the seasons.
  • Traditional sizes have dictated many things, from expectations to prefabricated construction parts.
  • Conventional wisdom back then dictated that you couldn't really teach a speech course online.
  • Again, this can't be done in a report where the overview is dictated by the particular interests of the reviewer.
  • Instructors, for their part, curated rather than dictated the discussion.
British Dictionary definitions for dictated


verb (dɪkˈteɪt)
to say (messages, letters, speeches, etc) aloud for mechanical recording or verbatim transcription by another person
(transitive) to prescribe (commands) authoritatively
(intransitive) to act in a tyrannical manner; seek to impose one's will on others
noun (ˈdɪkteɪt)
an authoritative command
a guiding principle or rule: the dictates of reason
Word Origin
C17: from Latin dictāre to say repeatedly, order, from dīcere to 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 dictated



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.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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