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 ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.