Definition of diction in English:



mass noun
  • 1The choice and use of words and phrases in speech or writing.

    ‘Wordsworth campaigned against exaggerated poetic diction’
    • ‘Both he and Frost advocated the use of natural diction, and of colloquial speech rhythms in metrical verse.’
    • ‘Should Bible translators be concerned about such things as the diction, rhythm, exaltation and beauty of the language that they use to represent God's word?’
    • ‘What were the minute, intricate, internal connections of diction and usage and metaphor?’
    • ‘He studied poets such as Shelley, Browning and Wordsworth diligently and imitated their style and diction.’
    • ‘It is true that imagination is in short supply among preachers; our language and diction are impoverished by our lack of imagination.’
    • ‘Shakespeare imposed no exclusive criteria upon his vocabulary and erected no shibboleth of purity of diction, such as was to hamstring Continental theatre for centuries.’
    • ‘And later, these men and women had to do a minute analysis of one another's diction, style, language, and so on.’
    • ‘This question of register or diction, is, however, a choice that every translator makes for him or herself.’
    • ‘Born in 1934 in deepest Carmarthenshire, she spoke Welsh and French before landing elegantly on English, a progress that perhaps explains the alien perfection of her diction.’
    • ‘But the grasp she had on the written word, on the inner springs and impulses of the language, made grammar and syntax and diction resemble the laws of physics.’
    • ‘It's an exemplary piece of practical criticism: Ricks teases out Larkin's dense and careful diction, plots the play of syntax against metre, unweaves the rhymes.’
    • ‘Its flowery and elevated diction, however, deny the characters speech that approximates dialogue between real people.’
    • ‘Instead of poetic diction, we have expository prose.’
    • ‘Horace certainly employs metaphors, but metonymy is by far the more common trait in his poetry and brings his use of language closer to a vernacular diction.’
    • ‘But Pinsky's more fully developed critique is of an emerging poetic diction susceptible to a too easy appropriation.’
    • ‘Addressing her fifth and last difficulty, Homer's diction, Dacier's tone, vocabulary, and attitude instantly change.’
    • ‘‘Prose is struggling a bit to find a style and diction,’ he says.’
    • ‘Laurens attempts to give the story a mythic dimension by using heightened diction that employs cascading images, inverted word order and endless puns.’
    • ‘While there is much to praise on the whole about Shepherd's language, his diction is elevated to such a level at times that it can feel stilted or in conflict with the subject matter.’
    phraseology, phrasing, turn of phrase, choice of words, wording, language, parlance, usage, vocabulary, terminology, expression, idiom, style, locution
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  • 2The style of enunciation in speaking or singing.

    ‘she began imitating his careful diction’
    • ‘When we talked about this, Katherine's southern accent became pronounced in both her diction and her drawl.’
    • ‘His diction is amazingly clear and even when he sings, every word is audible.’
    • ‘Of course, applied voice teachers around the world have used the IPA for decades to teach singing diction.’
    • ‘The judges chose them for the expression in their voices, excellent diction and the range of dynamics expressed in their music.’
    • ‘How did he achieve such excellence, such vivid diction, such lovely phrasing, such expressiveness?’
    • ‘She emphasised diction and clarity of speech and Una recalls students emerged from a multi-cultural education talking as if they had been to RADA.’
    • ‘My already considerable admiration for Ms Olibert would have grown had she written on the problems associated with improper enunciation and diction.’
    • ‘‘Listening to Nat Cole prompted me to sing sentimental songs with distinct diction,’ he said at Blueberry Hill.’
    • ‘Your delivery, intonation, diction and fluency are all wrong, and you remind me of someone who hangs about on street corners, opening your jacket and trying to sell people things.’
    • ‘We take it as a given that television and radio announcers usually are more careful and precise in their diction than is the man on the street.’
    • ‘Worshippers are encouraged to be careful about diction, stay in tune, sing exact note values, and avoid forcing the sound.’
    • ‘The children's choir sang with freshness of tone, clarity of diction and did not appear fazed by the dissonances that surrounded their vocal line at times.’
    • ‘As James, Mark Caven gives an honest and believable performance with clear diction and a consistent accent.’
    • ‘It's frankly ridiculous to suggest that, even with perfect articulation and diction, the singers' words will all be intelligible.’
    • ‘It still needs to work on its diction and intonation, which can dip badly in quiet passages.’
    • ‘Soprano Juliane Banse's fruity voice is neither childish nor stereotypically innocent, but her diction and sensitivity to words are exquisite.’
    • ‘Grant pronounced each word slowly, with careful diction, as if Eric were a simpleton.’
    • ‘Ensemble is well polished, they take great care with words and diction, and frequent soli from the choir move in and out with ease.’
    • ‘It has been my observation that most of the broadcasts are presented at machine gun rate, with almost incomprehensible diction and enunciation.’
    • ‘I assigned a language coach to work on accent and diction, and took it upon myself to work on meaning, phrasing, and effect.’
    enunciation, articulation, elocution, locution, pronunciation, speech, speech pattern, manner of speaking, intonation, inflection
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Mid 16th century (denoting a word or phrase): from Latin dictio(n-), from dicere ‘to say’.