direct action


Definition of direct action

: action that seeks to achieve an end directly and by the most immediately effective means (such as a boycott or strike)

Examples of direct action in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

During the discussion, moderated by Emilio De Torre, ACLU of Wisconsin's director of community engagement, the campaign leaders spoke about the importance of taking direct action and communicating with policymakers. Marisa Peryer, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "#CLOSEmsdf campaign leaders hold panel, march to advocate for corrections facility closure," 14 July 2019 By April, after more than five months of direct action and riot, the Gilets had caused nearly $200 million in property damage. Christopher Ketcham, Harper's magazine, "A Play with No End," 22 July 2019 Even without direct action, the administrator said that the basic anxiety of having Gab on the Fediverse has put people on edge. Adi Robertson, The Verge, "How the biggest decentralized social network is dealing with its Nazi problem," 12 July 2019 But Crow said the philosophy of Antifa is based on the idea of direct action. Jessica Suerth And Leah Asmelash, CNN, "What you need to know about Antifa," 2 July 2019 Lawmakers of both parties have criticized the president’s trade threats, but few have advocated taking direct action against him. New York Times, "Trump Threatens Tariffs on $200 Billion in China Goods, Escalating Fight," 18 June 2018 But those direct actions constitute fewer than half of the interventions his administration is taking credit for. Ryan Martin, Indianapolis Star, "Mayor Joe Hogsett says he's fixed 2,500 blighted homes. Does this look 'transformed'?," 11 June 2019 Again, no direct action was taken against McCarrick. Tara Isabella Burton, Vox, "A Catholic cardinal has weathered sex abuse allegations for years. Now they’re finally public," 29 July 2018 Through symbolic and direct actions, SustainUS brings youth to international negotiations to dismantle the political elite’s narrative and demand stronger, urgent action. Maia Wikler, Teen Vogue, "5 Youth-Led Climate Justice Groups Helping to Save the Environment," 28 Mar. 2019

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

See More

First Known Use of direct action

1912, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about direct action

Statistics for direct action

Last Updated

13 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for direct action

The first known use of direct action was in 1912

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for direct action

direct action


Legal Definition of direct action

1 : an action in which the plaintiff sues a person's insurer without first obtaining a judgment against the insured or joining the insured
2 : a suit by a shareholder for an injury to himself or herself independent from any injury to the corporation

called also individual action

— compare derivative action

More from Merriam-Webster on direct action

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with direct action Encyclopedia article about direct action

Comments on direct action

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


to be made up of

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Where in the World? A Quiz

  • peter bruegel tower of babel painting
  • What language does pajama come from?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Dictionary Devil

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!