dic·tate (dĭktāt′, dĭk-tāt)
v. dic·tat·ed, dic·tat·ing, dic·tates
1. To say or read aloud to be recorded or written by another: dictate a letter.
a. To prescribe with authority; impose: dictated the rules of the game.
b. To control or command: "Foreign leaders were ... dictated by their own circumstances, bound by the universal imperatives of politics" (Doris Kearns Goodwin).
1. To say or read aloud material to be recorded or written by another: dictated for an hour before leaving for the day.
2. To issue orders or commands.
1. A directive; a command.
a. An underlying constraint: "These men make numerous decisions affecting how they organize their lives according to the dictates of time and place" (William Marsiglio).
b. A guiding principle: followed the dictates of my conscience.
[Latin dictāre, dictāt-, frequentative of dīcere, to say; see deik- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2017 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
The American Heritage Dictionary Blog
Check out our blog, updated regularly, for new words and revised definitions, interesting images from the 5th edition, discussions of usage, and more.
American Heritage Dictionary Products
The American Heritage Dictionary, 5th Edition
The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms
The American Heritage Roget's Thesaurus
Curious George's Dictionary
The American Heritage Children's Dictionary
The American Heritage Dictionary of Indo-European Roots
The American Heritage Student Grammar Dictionary
The American Heritage Desk Dictionary + Thesaurus
The American Heritage Science Dictionary
The American Heritage Dictionary of Business Terms
The American Heritage Student Dictionary
The American Heritage Essential Student Thesaurus