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

In a letter announcing the group’s mission last month, organizers promised that hundreds of concerned citizens—scientists and academics, students, parents, artists, teachers, lawyers—had pledged to risk arrest in nonviolent direct action. Matt Stuart, Vogue, "“Sorry, We Won’t Be Long”: Extinction Rebellion Shuts Down London to Demand Climate Action," 22 Nov. 2018 The result is a seminal document of the civil rights movement and perhaps the most eloquent defense of direct action in the face of injustice ever written. Michael Hiltzik,, "Martin Luther King Jr. had a few words to say about calls for 'civility'," 26 June 2018 In May, the Trump administration released a plan to combat rising pharmaceutical prices through regulations, but avoided taking aggressive direct action. Renae Reints, Fortune, "Trump Criticizes Pfizer for Raising Drug Prices," 10 July 2018 The Fed won’t take any direct action based on the results released Thursday. Telis Demos, WSJ, "Big Banks Clear Fed’s Stress Tests," 21 June 2018 Rather, Nadasen credits direct action for pushing the dial. Sarah Jones, The New Republic, "Lessons From the Gilded Age," 13 June 2018 For Lewis Randa, the death of Robert F. Kennedy brought bottomless grief — but also direct action. Emily Williams,, "Marchers recall how Robert F. Kennedy touches their lives still," 7 June 2018 Jackson would embody King's penchant for direct action when official paths seemed too circuitous or unlikely. Eliott C. Mclaughlin, CNN, "'A wound that remains raw'," 3 Apr. 2018 May’s options for direct action are also somewhat limited. Gregory Katz, The Seattle Times, "U.K. faces calls to overturn its abortion ban in Northern Ireland," 28 May 2018

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.

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First Known Use of direct action

1912, in the meaning defined above

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Last Updated

8 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for direct action

The first known use of direct action was in 1912

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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

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