1650s, "authoritative utterance," from Late Latin dictationem (nominative dictatio) "a dictating, dictation," noun of action from past-participle stem of dictare "say often, prescribe," frequentative of dicere "to say, speak" (from PIE root *deik- "to show," also "pronounce solemnly"). Meaning "act or practice of expressing orally for another to write down" is by 1727.
modern word-forming element meaning "instrument for recording; that which writes, marks, or describes; something written," from Greek -graphos "-writing, -writer" (as in autographos "written with one's own hand"), from graphe "writing, the art of writing, a writing," from graphein "to write, express by written characters," earlier "to draw, represent by lines drawn" (see -graphy). Adopted widely (Dutch -graaf, German -graph, French -graphe, Spanish -grafo). Related: -grapher; -graphic; -graphical.