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 In the 1960s, college students led sit-ins guided by the pillars of civil disobedience and nonviolent direct action to protest segregation. Kiara Alfonseca, ABC News, 6 May 2024 The new due diligence requirements apply not only to the direct actions of the company, but also to their subsidiaries and supply chain. Jon McGowan, Forbes, 28 Feb. 2024 A week after the Cop City march in Atlanta, a group called Palestine Action, whose U.S. branch Chambers helped found after Oct. 7, staged a direct action at an office of Elbit Systems, an Israeli defense contractor, in Merrimack, New Hampshire. David Peisner, Rolling Stone, 24 Mar. 2024 The Colorado Supreme Court based its disqualification decision on the substantial evidence in the record, which supported the factual findings that Trump not only incited but also engaged in the Jan. 6 insurrection and took other direct actions to prevent the peaceful transfer of power. Doug Friednash, The Denver Post, 30 Jan. 2024 Some faiths proscribe taking direct action that could cause the death of the unborn child or the mother. Martin Shenkman, Forbes, 20 Feb. 2024 Last year, an executive order was issued highlighting direct actions the Biden administration is going to take to support caregivers. USA TODAY, 31 Jan. 2024 Anyone who says, after seeing his recent Indiana Jones fifth-quel, that Mangold can’t direct action should look here. Declan Gallagher,, 21 Jan. 2024 The nonprofit provides support through strategic communications and direct action to preserve Native sacred lands. Debra Utacia Krol, The Arizona Republic, 4 Jan. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'direct action.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1912, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of direct action was in 1912

Dictionary Entries Near direct action

Cite this Entry

“Direct action.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 May. 2024.

Legal Definition

direct action

: an action in which the plaintiff sues a person's insurer without first obtaining a judgment against the insured or joining the insured
: 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

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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