When you dictate something, you are giving orders — acting a bit like a dictator.

Dictate can also be used in a broader sense. Weather often dictates how many layers of clothes you wear, and the school rules dictate how you behave in and out of class. In a very different meaning, dictate means to say something out loud to a person or into a machine so it can be recorded. Up until fairly recently, bosses dictated letters and reports to secretaries who wrote them down.

Definitions of dictate
  1. noun
    a guiding principle
    “the dictates of reason”
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    type of:
    a basic truth or law or assumption
  2. noun
    an authoritative rule
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    type of:
    prescript, rule
    prescribed guide for conduct or action
  3. verb
    issue commands or orders for
    synonyms: order, prescribe
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    make mandatory
    type of:
    bring down, impose, inflict, visit
    impose something unpleasant
  4. verb
    rule as a dictator
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    grind down, tyrannise, tyrannize
    rule a country as a tyrant
    type of:
    govern, rule
    exercise authority over; as of nations
  5. verb
    say out loud for the purpose of recording
    “He dictated a report to his secretary”
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    type of:
    look at, interpret, and say out loud something that is written or printed
Word Family