American English

Definition of dictate verb from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



    Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they dictate
    he / she / it dictates
    past simple dictated
    -ing form dictating
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  1. 1[transitive, intransitive] dictate (something) (to somebody) to say words for someone else to write down He dictated a letter to his assistant.
  2. 2[transitive] to tell someone what to do, especially in an annoying way dictate something (to somebody) They are in no position to dictate terms (= tell other people what to do). dictate how, what, etc…/that… What right do they have to dictate how we live our lives?
  3. 3[transitive, intransitive] to control or influence how something happens synonym determine dictate (something) When we take our vacations is very much dictated by Greg's work schedule. dictate where, what, etc… It's generally your job that dictates where you live now. dictate that… The social conventions of the day dictated that she should remain at home with her parents.
  4. Phrasal Verbsdictate to somebody
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: dictate

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