(redirected from dictates)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Legal.

dictate to (one)

1. To speak to one who will reproduce the message in a written document. In this usage, "dictate to" is a set phrase. I just finished dictating that memo to my secretary, and she is typing it up right now.
2. To exert control over someone or something. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "dictate" and "to." Don't try to dictate the terms of this contract to me! I have a say in it, too, you know.
See also: dictate, to

dictated but not read

Copied into text through dictation but not written or proofread by the author. (Sometimes shortened to "dictated, not read.") Used as a warning that said text requires extra attention, as it may not read exactly as intended by the author. It always aggravates me to receive a letter marked as "dictated but not read"—if a person wants to write something to me, the least they could do is check it beforehand to make sure it's correct!
See also: but, dictate, not, read

the dictates of conscience

cliché The directives or guiding principles of one's own moral values. Several high-ranking officials have broken rank with the senator on the controversial issue, claiming they felt compelled to follow the dictates of conscience. We must always be informed by the dictates of conscience when creating new policies.
See also: conscience, dictate, of
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

dictate (something) to someone

1. to speak out words to someone who writes them down; to speak words into a recording device to be written down later by someone. Walter dictated a letter to his secretary. Please come in so I can dictate to you.
2. to lay out or spell out the exact terms of something to someone; to act as a dictator. You can't dictate the rules to us. Please don't dictate to me.
See also: dictate, to
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

dictate to

1. To say or read something aloud to someone, especially for it to be written down or notated: The executive dictated the letter to the secretary.
2. To issue orders or commands to someone: The manager dictated the new company policy to the staff.
See also: dictate, to
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs. Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

dictates of conscience

The guiding principles of what one believes is right. The word “dictate” has been so used, for the authoritative words of law, scripture, and the like, since the late sixteenth century. In 1656 Archbishop John Bramhall wrote, “Contrarie to the dictate of his conscience.”
See also: conscience, dictate, of
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
See also:
References in periodicals archive ?
Each of those costs dictate how deep we're willing to go into the forest.
The act is clear about who dictates the delivery of content to the deposit libraries: "where a work is published or made available to the public in different formats, (to) provide for the format in which any copy is to be delivered to be determined in accordance with requirements specified (generally or in a particular case) by the deposit libraries or any of them" (Queen's Printer of Acts of Parliament, 2003b, Section 6).
Similarly, the EU dictates on the shape and size of cucumbers, the consistency of marmalade, the texture and taste of chocolate, and thousands of other consumer items.
During the 1960 race, Kennedy took pains to make it clear that as president he would represent all Americans and not blindly follow the dictates of the hierarchy.
The speed of the backswing dictates the speed of the lead-leg lift.
From this perspective, labor is a factor of production, like capital goods and real estate; the dictates of economic efficiency are that workers will be pushed to their limits.
As a user dictates, his voice is digitally recorded and synchronized with the generated text.
Anyone who dictates my pronouns promotes biology-based labeling at the price of true friendship.
Each individual project dictates whether repairs are conducted by an on-site crew or at the foundry.
[20] By successfully transforming their dictates, Hylas dismantles the underpinnings of constant love in order to graft inscription onto the textual mold provided by the initial "paradox of nothing."
To lawfully conduct a crime scene search, however, investigators must be extremely careful to follow the dictates of the Fourth Amendment.
Then she dictates her song lyrics into the computer.
Logic dictates that class will infect point of view, whether the position be one of privilege, destitution, or any point between.
The Experimental House seeks to subert the dictates of Southern California's default mode of construction for residential architecture: the fasttrack, low-level craftsmanship of nailed wood framing.