9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[dik-tuh m] /ˈdɪk təm/
noun, plural dicta
[dik-tuh] /ˈdɪk tə/ (Show IPA),
an authoritative pronouncement; judicial assertion.
a saying; maxim.
Origin of dictum
1660-70; < Latin: something said, a saying, command, word, noun use of neuter past participle of dīcere to say, speak; cf. index
1. edict, decree, fiat, order, declaration. 2. adage, proverb, truism, saw. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for dictum
  • Another dictum: perception is reality.
  • The old Washington dictum of "don't do anything unless there's a crisis" has taken on the status of international law.
  • And we've gone a whole lot farther than following our mother's dictum to wash our hands before dinner.
  • As a dictum, it served him well, but it hardly amounts to a business model.
  • The profligate spending has been encouraged by the dictum that maximizing profit is all that matters.
  • Scott's dictum, that comment is free but facts are sacred, suited Keynes well since he had plenty of both to offer his readers.
  • Remember the "last hired first fired" dictum.
  • According to Mao's well-worn dictum, guerrillas must be like fish swimming in the “water” of the general population.
  • Remember the old dictum, “know your enemy&rdquo.
  • Metaphorically, though, the dictum goes unheeded.
British Dictionary definitions for dictum


noun (pl) -tums, -ta (-tə)
a formal or authoritative statement or assertion; pronouncement
a popular saying or maxim
(law) See obiter dictum
Word Origin
C16: from Latin, 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 dictum

1660s, from Latin dictum "thing said (a saying, bon-mot, prophecy, etc.), an order, command," neuter of dictus, past participle of dicere "say" (see diction). In legal use, a judge's expression of opinion which is not the formal resolution of a case.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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