|Origin:||dictare 'to say often, say firmly', from dicere 'to say'|
1 [intransitive and transitive]BBO
to say words for someone else to write down
dictate a letter/memo etc to somebody
She's dictating a letter to her secretary right now.
2 [intransitive and transitive]
to tell someone exactly what they must do or how they must behave
The media cannot be allowed to dictate to the government.
dictate who/what/how etc
Can they dictate how the money will be spent?
Federal funds have to be used as dictated by Washington.
Islamic custom dictates that women should be fully covered.
The US government attempted to dictate the terms of the agreement.
to control or influence something [= determine]
dictate what/how etc
Funds dictate what we can do.
The laws of physics dictate that what goes up must come down.
The massive publicity dictated a response from the city government.