Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To say or read aloud to be recorded or written by another: dictate a letter.
  • transitive v. To prescribe with authority; impose: dictated the rules of the game.
  • transitive v. To control or command: "Foreign leaders were . . . dictated by their own circumstances, bound by the universal imperatives of politics” ( Doris Kearns Goodwin).
  • intransitive v. To say or read aloud material to be recorded or written by another: dictated for an hour before leaving for the day.
  • intransitive v. To issue orders or commands.
  • n. A directive; a command.
  • n. A guiding principle: followed the dictates of my conscience.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. An order or command.
  • v. To order, command, control.
  • v. To speak in order for someone to write down the words.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transitive v. To tell or utter so that another may write down; to inspire; to compose.
  • transitive v. To say; to utter; to communicate authoritatively; to deliver (a command) to a subordinate; to declare with authority; to impose
  • intransitive v. To speak as a superior; to command; to impose conditions (on).
  • intransitive v. To compose literary works; to tell what shall be written or said by another.
  • n. A statement delivered with authority; an order; a command; an authoritative rule, principle, or maxim; a prescription

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To declare or prescribe with authority; direct or command positively, as being right, necessary, or inevitable: as, conscience dictates truthfulness and fair dealing; to dictate a course of conduct, or terms of surrender.
  • To be the determining cause or motive of; fix or decide positively or unavoidably: as, necessity dictated the abandonment of the ship; his conduct is dictated by false pride.
  • To express orally for another to write down; give utterance or form to, as something to be written: as, to dictate a letter to a clerk.
  • Synonyms To command, prescribe, enjoin, require.
  • To practise dictation; act or speak dictatorially; exercise controlling or arbitrary authority; assume a dictatorial, dogmatic, or commanding attitude.
  • n. A positive order or command; an authoritative or controlling direction.
  • n. An authoritative rule, maxim, or precept; a guiding principle: as, the dictates of conscience or of reason.
  • n. Dictation.
  • n. That which is dictated; a dictated utterance.
  • n. Synonyms and Injunction, admonition.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. an authoritative rule
  • n. a guiding principle
  • v. say out loud for the purpose of recording
  • v. rule as a dictator
  • v. issue commands or orders for

Etymologies

Latin dictāre, dictāt-, frequentative of dīcere, to say; see deik- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin dictātus, perfect passive participle of dictō ("pronounce or declare repeatedly; dictate"), frequentative of dīcō ("say, speak"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

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