Dic"tion (?), n. [L. dicto a saying, a word, fr. dicere, dictum, to say; akin to dicare to proclaim, and to E. teach, token: cf. F. diction. See Teach, and cf. Benison, Dedicate, Index, Judge, Preach, Vengeance.]

Choice of words for the expression of ideas; the construction, disposition, and application of words in discourse, with regard to clearness, accuracy, variety, etc.; mode of expression; language; as, the diction of Chaucer's poems.

His diction blazes up into a sudden explosion of prophetic grandeur. De Quincey.

Syn. -- Diction, Style, Phraseology. Style relates both to language and thought; diction, to language only; phraseology, to the mechanical structure of sentences, or the mode in which they are phrased. The style of Burke was enriched with all the higher graces of composition; his diction was varied and copious; his phraseology, at times, was careless and cumbersome. "Diction is a general term applicable alike to a single sentence or a connected composition. Errors in grammar, false construction, a confused disposition of words, or an improper application of them, constitute bad diction; but the niceties, the elegancies, the peculiarities, and the beauties of composition, which mark the genius and talent of the writer, are what is comprehended under the name of style."



© Webster 1913.

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