Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Medical
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary


noun di·rec·tion \də-ˈrek-shən, dī-\

Simple Definition of direction

  • : the course or path on which something is moving or pointing

  • directions : a statement that tells a person what to do and how to do it : an order or instruction

  • : instructions that tell you how to go to a place

Full Definition of direction

  1. 1 :  guidance or supervision of action or conduct :  management

  2. 2 archaic :  superscription

  3. 3 a :  an explicit instruction :  order b :  assistance in pointing out the proper route —usually used in plural <asked for directions to the beach>

  4. 4 :  the line or course on which something is moving or is aimed to move or along which something is pointing or facing

  5. 5 archaic :  directorate 1

  6. 6 a :  a channel or direct course of thought or action b :  tendency, trend c :  a guiding, governing, or motivating purpose

  7. 7 a :  the art and technique of directing an orchestra, band, or a show (as for stage or screen) b :  a word, phrase, or sign indicating the appropriate tempo, mood, or intensity of a passage or movement in music

di·rec·tion·less play \-ləs\ adjective
di·rec·tion·less·ness noun

Examples of direction

  1. The army attacked from three different directions.

  2. Down the road, he could see a bus coming from the opposite direction.

  3. The wind changed direction and started blowing in our faces.

  4. Carefully read the directions before you begin the test.

  5. Directions appear on the package.

  6. We had to stop to ask for directions to the beach.

  7. Excuse me. Could you please give me directions to the movie theater?

  8. He was put in charge and given overall direction of the program.

  9. Twenty-three employees work under her direction.

  10. Several nurses working under the direction of this doctor have made complaints.

15th Century

First Known Use of direction

15th century

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up direction? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


February 9, 2016

marked by high spirits and laughter

Get Word of the Day daily email!


Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!


Which of the following refers to thin, bending ice, or to the act of running over such ice?

duvet kittly-benders spindrift pince-nez
Name That Thing

10 quick questions: hear them, spell them, and see how your skills compare to the crowd.


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.