di·​rect | \ də-ˈrekt How to pronounce direct (audio) , dī- \
directed; directing; directs

Definition of direct

 (Entry 1 of 3)

transitive verb

1 : to cause to turn, move, or point undeviatingly or to follow a straight course X-rays directed through the body
2 : to point, extend, or project in a specified line or course direct the nozzle downward
3a : to regulate the activities or course of directs a staff of over 200 employees
b : to carry out the organizing, energizing, and supervising of direct a project directed a call center
c : to train and lead performances of direct a movie directing a famous actor
d : to dominate and determine the course of … will not find it preposterous that the past should be altered by the present as much as the present is directed by the past.— T. S. Eliot
4a : to impart orally directed the remark to her fellow senators
b : to mark with the name and address of the intended recipient
c : to adapt in expression so as to have particular applicability arguments directed at the emotions
d obsolete : to write (a letter) to a person
5 : to show or point out the way for signs directing us to the entrance
6 : to request or enjoin (see enjoin sense 1) with authority the judge directed the jury to acquit

intransitive verb

1 : to act as director of a show or musical ensemble She both acted and directed in the film.
2 : to point out, prescribe, or determine a course or procedure



Definition of direct (Entry 2 of 3)

1a : proceeding from one point to another in time or space without deviation or interruption : straight a direct line
b : proceeding by the shortest way the direct route
2a : stemming immediately from a source direct result
b : being or passing in a straight line of descent from parent to offspring : lineal direct ancestor
c : having no compromising or impairing element a direct insult
3 : natural, straightforward a direct manner asked him to be more direct was direct in her criticism
4a : marked by absence of an intervening agency, instrumentality, or influence making direct observations of nature
b : effected or brought about by the action of the people or the electorate and not by representatives direct democracy
c : consisting of or reproducing the exact words of a speaker or writer a direct quotation
5 : characterized by close logical, causal, or consequential relationship direct evidence
6 astronomy : having or being motion in the general planetary direction from west to east : not retrograde (see retrograde entry 1 sense 1a(1))
7 : capable of dyeing without the aid of a mordant



Definition of direct (Entry 3 of 3)

: in a direct (see direct entry 2) way: such as
a : from point to point without deviation : by the shortest way flew direct to Miami
b : from the source without interruption or diversion (see diversion sense 1) the writer must take his material direct from life— Douglas Stewart
c : without an intervening agency (see agency sense 3) or step buy direct from the manufacturer

Synonyms & Antonyms for direct

Synonyms: Verb

Synonyms: Adjective

Synonyms: Adverb

Antonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Adverb

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Choose the Right Synonym for direct


command, order, bid, enjoin, direct, instruct, charge mean to issue orders. command and order imply authority and usually some degree of formality and impersonality. command stresses official exercise of authority. a general commanding troops order may suggest peremptory or arbitrary exercise. ordered his employees about bid suggests giving orders peremptorily (as to children or servants). she bade him be seated enjoin implies giving an order or direction authoritatively and urgently and often with admonition or solicitude. a sign enjoining patrons to be quiet direct and instruct both connote expectation of obedience and usually concern specific points of procedure or method, instruct sometimes implying greater explicitness or formality. directed her assistant to hold all calls the judge instructed the jury to ignore the remark charge adds to enjoin an implication of imposing as a duty or responsibility. charged by the President with a secret mission

conduct, manage, control, direct mean to use one's powers to lead, guide, or dominate. conduct implies taking responsibility for the acts and achievements of a group. conducted negotiations manage implies direct handling and manipulating or maneuvering toward a desired result. manages a meat market control implies a regulating or restraining in order to keep within bounds or on a course. controlling his appetite direct implies constant guiding and regulating so as to achieve smooth operation. directs the store's day-to-day business

Examples of direct in a Sentence

Verb Be sure that the water nozzle is directed downward. The sloping ground helps direct water away from the home. Let me direct your attention to the book's second chapter. We were asked to direct our thoughts and prayers to the people who survived the disaster. The students directed their efforts toward improving their community. A lot of the criticism has been directed toward the concert's organizers. He is responsible for directing the activities of the sales team. In my current position, I direct a staff of over 200 employees. We need someone to direct traffic. Adjective I found a more direct route to the city. That way is more direct. Keep these plants out of direct sunlight. The coastline was exposed to the direct force of the hurricane. The weather had a direct effect on our plans. There's a direct connection between the two events. The investigation began in direct response to the newspaper story. Adverb It costs less if you buy it direct from the manufacturer. flew direct to the coast See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Could this be a hint that Filoni will direct one or more episodes of Ahsoka? Jacob Siegal, BGR, 9 May 2022 In trial, a judge ruled that Apple was ok to charge a commission, but found that the tech giant’s anti-steering rule (which said that companies like Epic couldn’t direct users to their website to pay for a subscription or content) was inappropriate. Alex Weprin, The Hollywood Reporter, 11 Apr. 2022 Lekha Doshi, LinkedIn’s vice president of global operations, said that based on the explanations sales representatives now direct clients to training, support, and services that improve their experience and keep them spending. Paresh Dave, The Christian Science Monitor, 6 Apr. 2022 Bleser said law enforcement, social workers and advocates can direct people to the system at the scene of incidents. Cameron Knight, The Enquirer, 30 Mar. 2022 As one of the only working female directors in Hollywood at the time, Ida Lupino is a fascinating exception to the studio-era assumption that women could not direct. cleveland, 28 Mar. 2022 To reconcile the results of their new study with their initial expectations of memory formation, Fraser, Arnold and their team hypothesize that the type of memory might direct how the brain chooses to encode it. Quanta Magazine, 3 Mar. 2022 Friends and colleagues wanted to know if Tree had helped direct the video, as snippets from it seemed to mirror his own work. Tomás Mier, Rolling Stone, 2 May 2022 King will direct and executive produce under her Royal Ties Productions banner. Joe Otterson, Variety, 2 May 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The sound of this group with this new repertoire is bold, direct, and purposefully and beautifully disturbing. Luke Schulze, San Diego Union-Tribune, 16 May 2022 If big numbers of missionaries learn to write, direct and produce videos (as well as sing and dance) on their missions, those skills could help them in future occupations. The Salt Lake Tribune, 15 May 2022 Throughout her work, the language is direct and unadorned while also playful and full of unexpected turns. David L. Ulin, Los Angeles Times, 13 May 2022 For example, in Denmark, we are known to be very direct. Thomas Jensen, Forbes, 13 May 2022 Where the president should be direct and full-throated, Biden has been, at best, indirect and pusillanimous. The Editors, National Review, 12 May 2022 But this week, a senior Biden administration official was more direct: All adults need a third shot. Deidre Mcphillips, CNN, 11 May 2022 Bluebond-Langner is smiley and direct and generally immune to the surgeonly god complex. New York Times, 10 May 2022 Its steering is direct, its brake pedal is firm, and the Denali's standard adaptive dampers help control body motions and isolate the ride despite the 22-inch rims. Eric Stafford, Car and Driver, 10 May 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb They are not accustomed to selling direct to consumers and they are built to market to consumers who walk up and down aisles. Richard Kestenbaum, Forbes, 13 Apr. 2022 Thanks to discerning Mercury moving direct in your sign, your attitude matters! Tarot Astrologers,, 3 Feb. 2022 Since Uranus is moving direct in the stubborn sign of Taurus, Murphy says that our foundations will be most affected — areas related to money, material possessions, property, and our connection to our values. Elizabeth Gulino,, 15 Jan. 2022 All ingredients are locally-sourced and will be delivered direct to your door before class. Luann Gibbs, The Enquirer, 6 July 2012 In the documentary the princess speaks direct to camera, in a very straightforward way. Leo Barraclough, Variety, 4 Apr. 2022 As movie theaters sit empty during the coronavirus pandemic, some films are being released direct to streaming services and digital platforms, shaking up a distribution model that's been in place for decades. Katie Deighton, WSJ, 28 Mar. 2022 Steve Ryan is managing director of DTC at Resident, a platform that sells mattresses and other home goods direct to the consumer and that was set up as a remote-first organization. Roger Trapp, Forbes, 27 Mar. 2022 Besides restaurants, the company is selling direct to consumer, targeting home cooks with kits that come with a knob of wasabi stem, plus a grater and bamboo brush. Regan Stephens, Fortune, 15 Dec. 2021 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'direct.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of direct


14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 4d


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 6


14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for direct

Verb and Adverb

Middle English, from Anglo-French directer, from Latin directus straight, from past participle of dirigere to direct — more at dress


Middle English, from Latin directus — see direct entry 1

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Time Traveler for direct

Time Traveler

The first known use of direct was in the 14th century

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Last Updated

18 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Direct.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for direct


di·​rect | \ də-ˈrekt How to pronounce direct (audio) , dī- \
directed; directing

Kids Definition of direct

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : to cause to point or move in a particular direction Direct your light over here.
2 : to cause to focus on direct your attention
3 : to show or tell the way Signs directed us to the exit.
4 : to put an address on direct a letter
5 : order entry 1 sense 2, command Bake as directed.
6 : to manage or control the making or activities of direct a play She directs a large company.



Kids Definition of direct (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : going from one point to another without turning or stopping : straight a direct route
2 : coming straight from a cause or source … the skunk … sprayed Brian with a direct shot …— Gary Paulsen, Hatchet
3 : said or done in a clear and honest way a direct answer
4 : being in an unbroken family line a direct ancestor
5 : exact entry 1 a direct translation a direct hit

Other Words from direct

directness noun



Kids Definition of direct (Entry 3 of 3)

: directly sense 1 I flew direct to Paris.


transitive verb

Legal Definition of direct

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : to order with authority the testator directed that the car go to his niece
2 : to order entry of (a verdict) without jury consideration the court directed a verdict in favor of the defendant
3 : to act as director of

intransitive verb

: to act as director



Legal Definition of direct (Entry 2 of 3)

1a : stemming immediately from a source direct costs a direct claim — compare derivative
b : being or passing in a straight line from parent to offspring : lineal a direct ancestor — compare collateral
2 : marked by absence of any intervening agency, instrumentality, or influence direct consequences
3 : effected by the action of the people or the electorate and not by representatives direct democracy
4 : characterized by close logical, causal, or consequential relationship a direct interest in the outcome of the litigation

Other Words from direct

directly adverb



Legal Definition of direct (Entry 3 of 3)

: direct examination testimony given on direct

More from Merriam-Webster on direct

Nglish: Translation of direct for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of direct for Arabic Speakers


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