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’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘But Pinsky's more fully developed critique is of an emerging poetic diction susceptible to a too easy appropriation.’
    • ‘Both he and Frost advocated the use of natural diction, and of colloquial speech rhythms in metrical verse.’
    • ‘It is true that imagination is in short supply among preachers; our language and diction are impoverished by our lack of imagination.’
    • ‘What were the minute, intricate, internal connections of diction and usage and metaphor?’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Addressing her fifth and last difficulty, Homer's diction, Dacier's tone, vocabulary, and attitude instantly change.’
    • ‘And later, these men and women had to do a minute analysis of one another's diction, style, language, and so on.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He studied poets such as Shelley, Browning and Wordsworth diligently and imitated their style and diction.’
    • ‘‘Prose is struggling a bit to find a style and diction,’ he says.’
    • ‘Its flowery and elevated diction, however, deny the characters speech that approximates dialogue between real people.’
    • ‘Instead of poetic diction, we have expository prose.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘This question of register or diction, is, however, a choice that every translator makes for him or herself.’
    • ‘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?’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Laurens attempts to give the story a mythic dimension by using heightened diction that employs cascading images, inverted word order and endless puns.’
    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’
    • ‘As James, Mark Caven gives an honest and believable performance with clear diction and a consistent accent.’
    • ‘My already considerable admiration for Ms Olibert would have grown had she written on the problems associated with improper enunciation and diction.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘‘Listening to Nat Cole prompted me to sing sentimental songs with distinct diction,’ he said at Blueberry Hill.’
    • ‘The judges chose them for the expression in their voices, excellent diction and the range of dynamics expressed in their music.’
    • ‘Of course, applied voice teachers around the world have used the IPA for decades to teach singing diction.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘It still needs to work on its diction and intonation, which can dip badly in quiet passages.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘His diction is amazingly clear and even when he sings, every word is audible.’
    • ‘Worshippers are encouraged to be careful about diction, stay in tune, sing exact note values, and avoid forcing the sound.’
    • ‘When we talked about this, Katherine's southern accent became pronounced in both her diction and her drawl.’
    • ‘Grant pronounced each word slowly, with careful diction, as if Eric were a simpleton.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I assigned a language coach to work on accent and diction, and took it upon myself to work on meaning, phrasing, and effect.’
    • ‘Ensemble is well polished, they take great care with words and diction, and frequent soli from the choir move in and out with ease.’
    • ‘How did he achieve such excellence, such vivid diction, such lovely phrasing, such expressiveness?’
    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’.