Word forms: dictates, dictating
Definitionspronunciation note: The verb is pronounced (dɪkteɪt
, US dɪkteɪt
). The noun is pronounced (dɪkteɪt
1. verb If you dictate something, you say or read it aloud for someone else to write down. [V n] ⇒ Sheldon writes every day of the week, dictating his novels in the morning. [V n] ⇒ Everything he dictated was signed and sent out the same day. [Also V] 2. verb If someone dictates to someone else, they tell them what they should do or can do. [V to n] ⇒ He had warned the West against trying to dictate to the Soviet Union. [V n] ⇒ What right has one country to dictate the environmental standards of another? [V wh] ⇒ He cannot be allowed to dictate what can and cannot be inspected. [V + to] ⇒ What gives them the right to dictate to us what we should eat? [V n + to] ⇒ The officers were more or less able to dictate terms to successive governments. [V that] ⇒ The rules of court dictate that a defendant is entitled to all evidence which may help his case. 3. verb
If one thing dictates another, the first thing causes or influences the second thing. [V n] ⇒ The film's budget dictated a tough schedule. [V n] ⇒ The way in which they dress is dictated by very rigid fashion rules. [V wh] ⇒ Of course, a number of factors will dictate how long an apple tree can survive. [V that] ⇒ Circumstances dictated that they played a defensive rather than attacking game.
4. verb You say that reason or common sense dictates that a particular thing is the case when you believe strongly that it is the case and that reason or common sense will cause other people to agree. [V that] ⇒ Commonsense now dictates that it would be wise to sell a few shares. 5. countable noun A dictate is an order which you have to obey. [+ of] ⇒ Their job is to ensure that the dictates of the Party are followed. 6. countable noun [usu pl] Dictates are principles or rules which you consider to be extremely important. [+ of] ⇒ We have followed the dictates of our consciences and have done our duty.
COBUILD Advanced English Dictionary. Copyright © Harper Collins Publishers