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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
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References in periodicals archive ?
Hogg clarified that McKinsey was only providing inputs from its experience of similar organisations, and 'was facilitating the process' at the Bank of England but was not dictating the bank's strategy.
A Scottish Executive spokes- man said last night: "We don't believe we are dictating to people.
And finally, the company points to the realities of the marketplace, where computer users have been getting more and more features for little or no additional cost - so why should the government start dictating software design?
For example, spend time waiting in line dictating thoughts into a tape recorder.
By creating a system of obscenity law based on "community standards," Chief Justice Warren Burger was trying to prevent the standards of acceptability in New York City or San Francisco from dictating the standards of Kansas City or Norman, Oklahoma.
We do not expect that it would be any different if regulations were to be passed dictating scrap rubber use back into tires or other rubber products.
He points to the "increased strategic and regional parity between" the superpowers in the 1960s that made it necessary for Egypt to shift to alignment with one of them, with Cairo's "regional objectives" subsequently dictating a shift to the other superpower (p.
London, July 6(ANI): Former West Indies fast bowler Michael Holding has criticized the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) for having too much power in world cricket and dictating to the International Cricket Council (ICC).
Dictating a letter can pose problems at the best of times, dictating a letter through a computer to an individual on the other side of the world could literally be fatal.
There is no advantage to the defensive player at all, for the offensive player is dictating the flow of the game.
The latter vision supports the norm, dictating that elites (now including those of color) gain power and wealth at the expense of the masses left at the bottom of the well.
About 65 percent of all reports are self-edited by the dictating physicians--and that percentage is rising steadily--while the balance are sent electronically to a medical editor for editing and return to the physician for review and electronic signature.
I have estimated that dictating would add 45 minutes or an hour to each office day.
The code covers HVAC, plumbing, lighting and electricity and the building envelope, and has a number of provisions dictating that the substantial portion of a renovation -- usually 50 percent of more of a system measured in units appropriate to that system -- must follow the code.