Definition of dictum in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈdiktəm/

noun (plural dicta /-tə/ or dictums)

1A formal pronouncement from an authoritative source: the First Amendment dictum that “Congress shall make no law ... abridging the freedom of speech”
More example sentences
  • Indeed, they resist inquiries from the unanointed into the bases of their pronouncements and insist on handing their pronouncements down as dicta that may not be questioned.
  • And you can't even have the sense of rigour because rigour is an authoritarian dictum in itself, which rules out other ways of approaching movement, for example perceiving something with gentleness.
  • Apparently, the new dictum in the National Party is that if women members disagree with their leader, they are gone by lunchtime.
pronouncement, proclamation, direction, injunction, dictate, command, commandment, order, decree, edict, mandate, diktat
1.1A short statement that expresses a general truth or principle: the old dictum “might makes right.”
More example sentences
  • Secretary Rumsfeld invoked Frederick the Great's dictum from General Principles of War: ‘What design would I be forming if I were the enemy?’
  • The truth of the dictum has been demonstrated in history, both ancient and recent, time and again.
  • What is definite is that this process began outside India, and that the NRI proved over and over again the old dictum that Indians do well everywhere, as long as everywhere does not include India.
saying, maxim, axiom, proverb, adage, aphorism, saw, precept, epigram, motto, truism, commonplace, platitude;
expression, phrase, tag
1.2 Law short for obiter dictum.
Example sentences
  • However, as differing judicial dicta indicate, the question of how far decisions made by governmental and other administrative bodies should be subject to control by the courts is far from being an uncontroversial one.
  • It reversed Judge Newcomer, and noted that federal judges should not take Supreme Court dicta lightly.
  • As I said yesterday, there is the accident compensation legislation, but such dicta as there are are against recovery.


Late 16th century: from Latin, literally 'something said', neuter past participle of dicere.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: dic·tum

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