Raise your SAT score: What’s a dictum?
Part of Speech: noun
Pronunciations: DIK-tum IPA: /’dɪk.təm/
Definition: an authoritative declaration, statement, or saying (Ex: Google’s dictum “don’t be evil”).
Example sentence: The dictum popularly credited to P.T. Barnum that “there’s a sucker born every minute” has been used to explain the great success of ineffectual weight-loss products.
Examples of dicta:
- There’s a popular dictum among Texans that you can take the boy out of Texas, but you can’t take the Texas out of the boy.
- It is life’s dictum that we will all sooner or later meet with the same fate.
- My mother lent me the car with the dictum that I treat it as a loaded weapon.
Discussion: The plural form of dictum in English can be either dicta (the original Latin form) or dictums, the regularized form. A quick check of the American Corpus of Contemporary American English shows 81 occurrences of dicta and only 25 occurrences of dictums.