The one who rules or dictates is dictator, but what do we call the one who is being dictated to? I'm looking for a better match than slave, subservient, etc. I am trying to find a word that matches a common etymological pattern like:

Interview brings two words:

interviewer- a person who interviews someone, and

interviewee-a person who is interviewed.

Similarly, the one who dictates get 'dictator', so what is the word for the one who is 'dictated by a dictator'

I am looking for a word that is derived from the word 'dictate', if available.

  • 1
    There is no particular word. Dictator is not a symmetric relation. Sep 22, 2020 at 14:38
  • 2
    'dictatee' would be the expected morphological transformation, except that just isn't a word and the semantics doesn't really work ('dictator' is all about the role as a leader, and doesn't say much about their relationship with those they dictate to).
    – Mitch
    Sep 22, 2020 at 14:55
  • When someone dictates a letter, the person receiving the dictation is said to 'take' the letter. But we do not, idiomatically, call the person dictating a 'Dictator' in that context.
    – Nigel J
    Sep 22, 2020 at 14:58
  • @Mitch- Thanks, that’s convincing. Sep 22, 2020 at 16:21
  • Subject? Citizen? Minion? Sep 22, 2020 at 19:41

3 Answers 3


I was going to say “secretary”, but in this context, with no specific word for this concept, a noun from the past participle will serve (as in many other situations):

The dictated

Now write it down.

  • How about "stenographer"?
    – Hot Licks
    Sep 22, 2020 at 19:59
  • @HotLicks — American English. I speak the other variety.
    – David
    Sep 22, 2020 at 20:02

Our word dictator comes from a Latin term for a magistrate who was given temporary supreme power in an emergency; it means something like one who speaks. We don't say that a dictator 'dictates' the people he rules over.

  • 1
    A Dictator issues dictats.
    – Nigel J
    Sep 22, 2020 at 15:01
  • Not an answer to OP's question (which I've rendered grammatical). Sep 22, 2020 at 15:03
  • Sorry, but I believe I was referring to the other meaning of dictator. As in ruler, not the speaker. Sep 22, 2020 at 16:22
  • @EdwinAshworth- Thanks for the grammar cleanup! Sep 22, 2020 at 16:23

Were I a dictator, I would regard others as my subjects, rather as a king or queen does.

Subject: one that is placed under authority or control: such as
a. vassal

b (1): one subject to a monarch and governed by the monarch's law

b (2): one who lives in the territory of, enjoys the protection of, and owes allegiance to a sovereign power or state.

[Merriam Webster]

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