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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.
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 dictating
  • The president-elect was dictating memos to his secretary in between clicks of the camera.
  • Individuality seems to be eradicated by advertising and magazines that are dictating our understanding of beauty.
  • We learned later that a barely controlled terror was dictating his pace.
  • The problem is, however, there is no one manual dictating how it should be written.
  • Add to this the call for a elite group of moral scientists, the logical conclusion is a this elite dictating are morality.
  • Your neighborhood often winds up dictating your exercise level.
  • There's not some authority dictating the structure of the network, so that structure is constantly evolving.
  • They're fine for dictating a message but not for doing lots of different tasks.
  • If there is a board that is dictating through cost or through some other instruction, that's another thing.
  • By memorizing his composition every night before bed and dictating it the next day.
British Dictionary definitions for dictating


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 dictating



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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