Definition of dictation in English:



mass noun
  • 1The action of dictating words to be typed, written down, or recorded on tape.

    ‘the dictation of letters’
    • ‘First, songs that occur in more than one manuscript source often do so in highly variant states that suggest they were written down from memory or by dictation, not copied from other manuscripts.’
    • ‘Next time I do a running dictation I'm going to use Paradise Lost as the text.’
    • ‘Mr Wordsall said that he typed a draft of this letter on 19 December 1998, at Mr Birkett's dictation, on his computer at Groby Road.’
    • ‘My scribe, Braintree, was in the bed-chamber, quietly awaiting the dictation of this week's Publisher's Message.’
    • ‘For dictation and voice recording, flash memory meant an end to problems associated with tape media (such as tapes being lost in mounds of paperwork or chewed up by the recording mechanism).’
    • ‘It often accompanies me on research trips, taking down my on-the-spot impressions of the street in Rome where Morse lived, my undercover dictation of some letter displayed for sale in a manuscript dealer's shop.’
    • ‘He sat in the dictation room off of the pediatric intensive care unit dictating the final procedure note.’
    • ‘I felt the dictation software was working well enough to attempt to write the review with it.’
    • ‘Assuming that James did not really speak to Theodora Bosanquet from beyond the grave, his posthumous dictation presumably came from within her own mind.’
    • ‘He knew it long before he started the dictation.’
    • ‘Therefore, a simple dictation becomes a time-limiting step, with additional need for corrections.’
    • ‘These sheets are printed on a standard laser printer, and although they are in black-and-white, they are useful to the residents during the dictation of their gross descriptions and for their further workup of the case.’
    • ‘This raises the suspicion that such work resulted from a process of dictation and transcription.’
    • ‘I have to speak out the words I want in my head - a bit like silent dictation - and my fingers follow.’
    • ‘Some authorities maintain that they were written by Moses himself at God's dictation.’
    • ‘While it's all good fun, just talking to the computer, particularly if it chooses to do my bidding, dictation is a learned skill.’
    • ‘When Steadman wrote his novel by dictation, I wondered if Theroux had.’
    • ‘On the 4th Defendant's request the referral letter was dated 12 April, the day of dictation.’
    • ‘This information is transcribed by a dictation service, and the physician reviews this information for accuracy before signing off on the note in the EMR.’
    • ‘The ‘stating’ here usually consists of intraverbal control, where the source of the intraverbals is conceptual stimulus control, rather than transcription or dictation.’
    1. 1.1 The activity of taking down a passage that is dictated by a teacher as a test of spelling, writing, or language skills.
      ‘passages for dictation’
      • ‘Today I gave my students the sentence dictation part of their spelling test, and then I had them diagram it for their language quiz.’
      • ‘Mr. Fillon presented a very traditional pedagogical message: it is necessary, the Minister repeated, for middle school teachers to rely much more frequently on dictations, compositions, recitations, and grammar exercises.’
      • ‘A Polish student has won a week-long trip to Swindon after winning an English dictation competition.’
      • ‘This includes help with dictation and pronunciation, along with sections on the basics of English, spelling, grammar and activities such as games, tests and quizzes.’
      • ‘Items that might be selected for inclusion from Figure 1 include pictures of classroom activities, children's dictations, or children's responses to new educational materials concerning diversity.’
      • ‘In Experiment 1, scores on the oral dictation spelling test were not significantly correlated with any of the three types of ratings of the authors.’
      • ‘Johnson describes seven benchmarks of writing development, and explains the value of employing dictation, drawing, scribbling, and temporary spelling in early writing programs.’
      • ‘KitMaker allows you to add your own voice recording that you can use for gap dictation and listening comprehension activities.’
      • ‘A college freshman theory course also should include sight singing, keyboard harmony, written harmony and dictation, Ehle says.’
      • ‘I remember that at the solfege test, the pianist played the piece once through before the actual dictation began; well, I had already written it all down at that first hearing.’
      • ‘A humorous example of this arose when I tried a new dictation program for my computer.’
      • ‘Visiting an orphanage where she loved to spend time with the children, she got talking with a lame girl after setting them an exercise in dictation.’
      • ‘The school day in St. Etienne-sur-Usson is full of drills, formal exercises and dictation, that staple of French education in which a teacher recites a passage from literature and the students dutifully copy it down.’
      • ‘I'm not a big fan of exams, but actually, dictation is not as straightforward as it sounds.’
      • ‘So how can it be that educated Dutch and Flemish people still make so many spelling errors that a dictation can be a challenge?’
      • ‘By the end of the lesson, Ava was already tired of the day; they only did dictation and re-writing passages from books and the board.’
      • ‘One small boy was writing dictation on the board.’
      • ‘The spelling test used standard dictation format in which the examiner said the word, then a sentence containing the word, and then repeated the word.’
      • ‘The subjects to be tested by examination were reading, spelling dictation, writing, composition, arithmetic, geography and drawing, and there was a general assessment of efficiency in other subjects.’
      • ‘Teachers observed the children, gave dictation, asked them to recite poetry they had learnt by heart, and used plenty of learning material for which they had to read and understand.’
    2. 1.2 Words that are dictated.
      ‘the job will involve taking dictation, drafting letters, and arranging meetings’
      • ‘Daunted by tackling the novel alone, he hires a stenographer to record his dictations.’
      • ‘The dismissals of Woodward's books as dictation can change with the political weather.’
      • ‘Nelson had a small table in his quarters on board his flagship and a single secretary to take dictation, translate foreign letters and newspapers, make copies, and file documents.’
      • ‘Artaud ended up creating a new, multigenre form, in which essay, dictation, poem, letter, dream, and glossolalia, in varying combinations, are present in a single work.’
      • ‘Babies listening to two sets of tape-recorded human speech would listen intently to the one with grammatical dictation, but would turn away and stop listening when ungrammatical tapes were played.’
      • ‘His legal career was cut short, however, when a white secretary refused to take dictation from a man of his colour.’
      • ‘Each day, she takes dictation, types letters on a big old Selectric, makes coffee, and, on occasion, ‘freshens up’ the mousetrap.’
      • ‘And the Torah is considered a direct dictation, which is why the Five Book of Moses have a unique position among all holy books of the Jewish people and a unique authority in the Jewish world.’
      • ‘And as you've mentioned, in terms of Jack Spicer, for whom they write the poems, he's just taking down the dictation.’
      • ‘Most of our dictations are one page long but a few are two pages.’
      • ‘Who knows, maybe I'll find a little London lad to pound out some dictation for me.’
      • ‘I don't usually feel as though I'm taking dictation, writing my own stuff.’
      • ‘I did, though get a reaction when I asked, in all innocence, if she would take dictation.’
      • ‘Each snippet is very much like the dictation you would hear if you were at a museum and had one of those handheld audio guides.’
      • ‘She had served for years as Hitler's secretary, taking dictation of his personal and political/military letters, but she neither saw nor heard the tragic truth.’
      • ‘Gone are the days when we used to take dictation from the boss and get back with a typewritten fair copy.’
      • ‘There is also a ‘Professional’ version that stores dictation after the programme is closed, for future review (my version will only store it while the programme is open).’
      • ‘When I'm writing, I feel like I'm taking dictation from my characters, but I also know that there's a lot of me in the story.’
      • ‘In this arena, too, the use of wireless PDAs can reduce turnaround time for transcribing physician dictations by half.’
      • ‘True to his word, Ian had his dictation waiting on her desk every morning and she looked forward to hearing the latest turn of events.’
      • ‘Admin assistants tend to like me so much more when I don't leave them piles of dictation!’
      • ‘The 100 spoken texts comprise: face-to-face conversations and telephone conversations; discussions; interviews; broadcast commentaries; lectures; demonstrations; sermons; committee meetings; and dictations.’
      • ‘In any case, there he was stepping out of that big car looking for all the world like he'd just been busy doing the New York Times crossword or taking dictation.’
      • ‘The book's success was so surprising to Stowe, she claimed that she did not write the book so much as take dictation from God.’
      • ‘They will, obviously, take dictation from Bremer or his successor and not from the figure-head ‘Ministers'.’
      • ‘My first day on the job, I walked into the doctor's office to place some dictation on his desk and spied a photo on his bookshelf.’
      • ‘Among Blackmun's papers, from which Linda Greenhouse has crafted her highly readable story of his career on the Supreme Court, there is a dictation he made to his file about the meeting.’
      • ‘So what is the chance of an untrained computer at the other end of a phone line decoding your dictation, especially when you adopt your most amusing Huw Edwards accent?’
      • ‘At the end of the day which was usually long and arduous she would take dictations from her husband and that is how the Annals came to be first drafted.’
      • ‘When some or all of her muses come into play, ‘these people [characters] start showing up and start talking, and I start taking the dictation,’ Cooper says.’
  • 2The action of giving orders authoritatively or categorically.

    • ‘Such dictation threatens one of the foundations of democracy - an education that freely criticizes and challenges the governing powers.’
    • ‘They felt that such a measure would ‘take away the power of control of currency and dictation of it from Whitehall from six thousand miles away‘.’
    • ‘Nor was he content to see Miller resign himself to a job of taking dictation from high school coaches.’
    • ‘It is when the rigid rules come in and it seems to be that there is too much dictation from the centre that things start to go wrong.’
    • ‘The publican claimed that this new law was jack boot government and government by dictation.’
    • ‘Every writer does, except perhaps those who, like Isaiah, have submitted to a higher dictation.’
    • ‘Within the states, branch members similarly will not accept dictation from local executives or Management Committees.’
    • ‘It was its aftermath that was most disastrous, largely under American dictation at Versailles.’
    • ‘It's probably because I am totally immune to advertising and the media, and today's music seems to me to be inextricably tied up with commercial dictation to people about what and how they should, or shouldn't, be.’
    • ‘In a matter of this kind we cannot and will not accept the dictation of theorists.’
    • ‘We must welcome advice, but we must not tolerate dictation.’
    • ‘Permitting the self to be cowed by such dictation destroyed-to use a Heideggerian buzzword-Authenticity.’
    • ‘The British Constitution, starting with Magna Carta of 1215 and expanded by subsequent Constitutional Acts guarantees us freedom from foreign or executive oppression or dictation.’
    • ‘Grassroots Fianna Fail supporters in this region sent a clear signal at the weekend to the party ‘top brass’ that they do not like dictation from on high.’
    • ‘We will not accept dictation from anybody as to how our conference is organised.’
    • ‘It has moved from being a dominant power which most often works through a sort of informal consensus to one that increasingly seeks to act through dictation.’
    • ‘But Hunt said the dictation of fiscal policy was beyond the remit of central bankers and, in any case, tightening fiscal policy would not be effective in an open economy like Ireland.’
    • ‘An autonomous body that must not, and will not, take dictation from any other local authority.’
    • ‘Decisions are not made communicatively but rather automatically by the dictation of the economic and political subsystems.’
    • ‘Greater power meant that if a general European war broke out, the United States would no longer have to sit back and accept dictation of its trade routes.’


Mid 17th century (in dictation (sense 2)): from late Latin dictatio(n-), from the verb dictare (see dictate).