From Late Latin dictātiō, noun of action from dictātus, the perfect passive participle of dictō.


  • (US) IPA(key): /dɪkˈteɪʃən/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -eɪʃən


dictation (countable and uncountable, plural dictations)

  1. (uncountable) Dictating, the process of speaking for someone else to write down the words.
    Since I learned shorthand, I can take dictation at eighty words a minute.
  2. (countable) An activity in school where the teacher reads a passage aloud and the students write it down.
    • 1908, Lucy Maud Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables:
      We had reading and geography and Canadian history and dictation today.
  3. (countable) The act of ordering or commanding.
    • 1852, Lysander Spooner, An Essay on the Trial by Jury:
      ...jurors in England have formerly understood it to be their right and duty to judge only according to their consciences, and not to submit to any dictation from the court, either as to law or fact.
  4. (uncountable) Orders given in an overbearing manner.
    His habit, even with friends, was that of dictation.

Derived termsEdit