July 20, 2017
diction (noun)
\DIK-shun\ Hear it!
What does it mean?
1 : choice of words especially with regard to correctness, clearness, or effectiveness : wording2 : quality of vocal expression : enunciation
How do you use it?
Our debate coach urged us to be careful about our diction and to avoid saying "hafta" instead of "have to" and "'cuz" instead of "because."
Are you a word wiz?

We've carefully worded today's question. See if you can answer it correctly. From which of these languages do you think the word "diction" derives?

Speak up if you chose B! The ancestor of "diction" is the Latin "diction-, dictio," meaning "speaking, style." In fact, the Latin word went directly into English in the late 1500s. You might be thinking that the word "dictionary" must also come from "diction-, dictio," to which English speakers tacked on the ending "-ary." If so, you'd be half right. "Dictionary" actually appeared in English about 50 years before "diction." But it too descends from "diction-, diction," which developed into "dictionarium," the Medieval Latin parent for the English word "dictionary."
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