dictate Meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary Cambridge dictionaries logo

Meaning of “dictate” in the English Dictionary

"dictate" in British English

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dictateverb

uk   /dɪkˈteɪt/  us   /ˈdɪk.teɪt/
  • dictate verb (GIVE ORDERS)

C1 [I or T] to give ​orders, or ​tell someone ​exactly what they must do, with ​totalauthority: The UN will dictate the ​terms of ​troopwithdrawal from the ​region. [+ question word] He ​disagrees with the ​government dictating what ​children are ​taught in ​schools. [+ that] The ​rules dictate that only ​runningshoes must be ​worn on the ​track. [T] to ​influence something or make it ​necessary: The party's ​change of ​policy has been dictated by ​its need to ​win back ​youngervoters. [+ that] I ​wanted to take a ​year off, but my ​financialsituation dictated that I got a ​job.

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  • dictate verb (SPEAK)

[I or T] to ​speak something ​aloud for a ​person or ​machine to ​record what is said, so that it can be written down: I dictated my ​order over the ​phone. She ​spent the ​morning dictating ​letters to her ​secretary.
Phrasal verbs

dictatenoun [C usually plural]

uk   us   /ˈdɪk.teɪt/ formal
an ​order that should be ​obeyed, often one that you give to yourself: the dictates ofconscience/​commonsense
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(Definition of dictate from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"dictate" in American English

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dictateverb

 us   /ˈdɪk·teɪt, dɪkˈteɪt/
  • dictate verb (GIVE ORDERS)

[T] to give ​orders, or ​state something with ​totalauthority: [+ question word] Tennis ​clubrules dictate what ​kind of ​footwear may be ​worn on the ​courts. [T] To dictate also ​means to make ​necessary: The characteristics of the ​land dictate much of what can be ​built.
  • dictate verb (SPEAK)

[I/T] to say something ​aloud for another ​person or for a ​machine to ​record, so that ​your words can be ​prepared in writing for use in ​business or a ​legalcase: [T] She ​spent the ​morning dictating ​letters.
(Definition of dictate from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

"dictate" in Business English

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dictateverb

uk   us   /dɪkˈteɪt/
[I or T] WORKPLACE to speak something aloud for a ​person or ​machine to ​record, so that what is said can be written down: dictate a letter/memo/reply to sb I dictated a ​memo to my ​assistant, to be ​sent to all ​staff.
[T] to decide and say what will ​happen, usually in a forceful way: dictate terms/conditions At that ​time the ​tradeunions were ​allowed to dictate ​terms, and nothing ​happened without their ​agreement.dictate how/when/what, etc. The ​government shouldn't dictate how we ​run our ​businesses.
[T] to ​influence something or make it necessary: The ​rise in ​fuelprices was dictated by the ​market.
(Definition of dictate from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
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“dictate” in British English

“dictate” in American English

“dictate” in Business English

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