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’
    • ‘Laurens attempts to give the story a mythic dimension by using heightened diction that employs cascading images, inverted word order and endless puns.’
    • ‘Addressing her fifth and last difficulty, Homer's diction, Dacier's tone, vocabulary, and attitude instantly change.’
    • ‘It is true that imagination is in short supply among preachers; our language and diction are impoverished by our lack of imagination.’
    • ‘Instead of poetic diction, we have expository prose.’
    • ‘This question of register or diction, is, however, a choice that every translator makes for him or herself.’
    • ‘What were the minute, intricate, internal connections of diction and usage and metaphor?’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Its flowery and elevated diction, however, deny the characters speech that approximates dialogue between real people.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Both he and Frost advocated the use of natural diction, and of colloquial speech rhythms in metrical verse.’
    • ‘He studied poets such as Shelley, Browning and Wordsworth diligently and imitated their style and diction.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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?’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘And later, these men and women had to do a minute analysis of one another's diction, style, language, and so on.’
    • ‘‘Prose is struggling a bit to find a style and diction,’ he says.’
    • ‘But Pinsky's more fully developed critique is of an emerging poetic diction susceptible to a too easy appropriation.’
    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’
    • ‘His diction is amazingly clear and even when he sings, every word is audible.’
    • ‘How did he achieve such excellence, such vivid diction, such lovely phrasing, such expressiveness?’
    • ‘Grant pronounced each word slowly, with careful diction, as if Eric were a simpleton.’
    • ‘I assigned a language coach to work on accent and diction, and took it upon myself to work on meaning, phrasing, and effect.’
    • ‘‘Listening to Nat Cole prompted me to sing sentimental songs with distinct diction,’ he said at Blueberry Hill.’
    • ‘As James, Mark Caven gives an honest and believable performance with clear diction and a consistent accent.’
    • ‘The judges chose them for the expression in their voices, excellent diction and the range of dynamics expressed in their music.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Soprano Juliane Banse's fruity voice is neither childish nor stereotypically innocent, but her diction and sensitivity to words are exquisite.’
    • ‘Worshippers are encouraged to be careful about diction, stay in tune, sing exact note values, and avoid forcing the sound.’
    • ‘It still needs to work on its diction and intonation, which can dip badly in quiet passages.’
    • ‘It has been my observation that most of the broadcasts are presented at machine gun rate, with almost incomprehensible diction and enunciation.’
    • ‘It's frankly ridiculous to suggest that, even with perfect articulation and diction, the singers' words will all be intelligible.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Ensemble is well polished, they take great care with words and diction, and frequent soli from the choir move in and out with ease.’
    • ‘My already considerable admiration for Ms Olibert would have grown had she written on the problems associated with improper enunciation and diction.’
    • ‘Of course, applied voice teachers around the world have used the IPA for decades to teach singing diction.’
    • ‘When we talked about this, Katherine's southern accent became pronounced in both her diction and her drawl.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    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’.