Definition of dictate in English:

dictate

Line breaks: dic|tate

verb

Pronunciation: /dɪkˈteɪt
 
/
[with object]
1State or order authoritatively: the tsar’s attempts to dictate policy [no object]: that doesn’t give you the right to dictate to me
More example sentences
  • Anything else smacks of ‘elitism’, the paternalist attempt by some to dictate to others what they ought to want.
  • But the drastic measures were attacked last night as the latest attempt to dictate to parents how they should bring up their children.
  • We no longer practice in a paternalistic system where medical authorities dictate to patients what is in their interests.
Synonyms
give orders to, order about/around, boss (about/around), impose one's will on, lord it over, bully, domineer, dominate, tyrannize, oppress, ride roughshod over, control, pressurize, browbeat; lay down the law, act the tin godcall the shots, throw one's weight about/around
1.1Control or decisively affect; determine: choice is often dictated by availability [no object]: a review process can be changed as circumstances dictate
More example sentences
  • The decisions that directly determine our present and dictate our future are made elsewhere.
  • That makes editors toe the line dictated by interests financially controlling the publication.
  • These results suggest that the lens dictates craniofacial morphology by controlling eye growth.
Synonyms
prescribe, lay down, impose, set down, set out; order, command, decree, ordain, direct, pronounce, enjoin, promulgate; determine, decide, influence, affect, choose, control, govern
2Say or read aloud (words to be typed, written down, or recorded on tape): I have four letters to dictate
More example sentences
  • His nurse took pity on him and agreed to write a letter for Daniel as he dictated the words, the last letter from a dying soldier to his family.
  • The basis of Islam is the belief that Mohammed regularly went into a state of trance and heard a voice dictating Allah's own words.
  • I don't have anything to file, I've never dictated a word, and so far, I try very hard to write this column by myself.
Synonyms
say aloud, utter, speak, read out, read aloud, recite

noun

Pronunciation: /ˈdɪkteɪt
 
/
(usually dictates) Back to top  
An order or principle that must be obeyed: the dictates of fashion
More example sentences
  • In any case, there is only one never changing rule: all news publication must obey the dictates of the Propaganda Department.
  • The requirements include very specific dictates on what information must be provided and when, how many course hours must be taken, and how those hours must be completed.
  • Surely it is unfair to say that marriage may be reformed for the sake of anyone and everyone except homosexuals, who must respect the dictates of tradition.
Synonyms
order, command, decree, edict, rule, ruling, ordinance, dictum, directive, direction, instruction, pronouncement, mandate, requirement, stipulation, injunction, ultimatum, demand, exhortation; (dictates)bidding, request, charge, promulgation; in Tsarist Russiaukase; in Spanish-speaking countriespronunciamento
informal say-so
literary behest
archaic hest
rare rescript
principle, guiding principle, code, canon, law, rule, regulation, precept, dictum, axiom, maxim

Origin

late 16th century (in sense 2 of the verb): from Latin dictat- 'dictated', from the verb dictare.

Definition of dictate in:

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove ads and access premium resources

Word of the day animalcule
Pronunciation: ˌanəˈmalˌkyo͞ol
noun
a microscopic animal