This may be a meaningless issue, but I'm trying to think if the root "dicere", rendered as "-diction" as explanation in English, is flexible enough to admit the whole spectrum of temporal meanings by changing the preposition. At present there are two, for future and past (postdiction seems to have been coined in the 80's). The one that seems to be missing is the term for the present. Has anyone seen Diction used to accomplish this task? What do you think?

Any ideas?


  • 1
    Why does Indiction not work? It means a "Declaration; proclamation; public notice or appointment". That holds a present tense in my opinion. Updated: So I originally found that on an iffy site and have sense been unable to find that definition on a reputable one, but did find: ME indictioun < L indictio < pp. of indicere, to declare, announce < in-, in + dicere, to say, tell – Hank Feb 16 '17 at 15:12
  • Thanks Hank! Indiction does sound better. Its verb "indict" seems to have lost the original latin implication over time though in favor of "accusing". Then it's "Indication", and indicate", but the equivalent would be "predication". Not sure, what do you think? – Oliver Amundsen Feb 16 '17 at 15:28
  • 1
    Yeah, after more research it does seem to have gone a different direction from its roots, but I don't see why it can't go the direction you want. It is a little borderline, though. – Hank Feb 16 '17 at 15:29
  • This doesn't answer your question, but "postdiction" may connote parapsychology - e.g. dreaming about a past event you had no reason to know of. A data-oriented effort of establishing unknown events in the past is commonly referred to as a retrodiction. – Paul Brinkley Feb 16 '17 at 17:32
  • (To be more clear: postdiction is also used in scientific contexts; retrodiction is apparently never used in parapsychology contexts.) – Paul Brinkley Feb 16 '17 at 17:35

The actually root word in Latin (for the English "diction") is "dictus", the passive perfect, or past, participle of dicere (thus, "said")
The Merriam-Webster online dictionary gives:M-W Dictionary Online
The above definition suggests the usage intended in the question is out-dated.
"Pronouncement" might be a better term for the purpose.
I would not claim that "diction" is incorrect to establish symmetry with "prediction" and "postdiction" , but its use might lead to misunderstandings.


  1. Diction: possible but may lend itself to misunderstandings
  2. Pronouncement: possible, but has different root
  3. Indiction: useful with clarification, more frequently used as "accusation".
  4. Indication: useful, although has another root: dicare.
  5. Dictum: possible, but has legal connotation
  6. Any other?
|improve this answer|||||
  • Thanks J.! Yes I agree that it might cause misunderstandings. Pronouncement though is rooted in "nuntius", messenger, which is the carries of the "dictum", which is the root to which I want to remain close. Ideas? – Oliver Amundsen Feb 16 '17 at 16:04
  • 1
    @OliverAmundsen perhaps "indicate" carries an appropriate meaning while retaining relations to your desired root? It's dicare (to proclaim) vs. dicere (to say), but that's pretty darn close. – Hellion Feb 16 '17 at 16:30
  • If nothing else, "dictum" can be used, although it is a mostly legal term in English.. – J. Taylor Feb 16 '17 at 16:37
  • Don't forget whistlin' dixi, a phrase that goes along with prediction. (ducks) – John Lawler Feb 16 '17 at 19:56

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.