direct action


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

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web Silver maintains there have been healthy conversations with the Players Association about different scenarios, but until there is enough evidence to support a change, there won’t be any direct action. Shane Young, Forbes, 19 Feb. 2023 It’s described as part high-stakes heist, part radical exploration of direct action as climate activism. Alex Ritman, The Hollywood Reporter, 13 Sep. 2022 Grant residents doubled down, filing a counterclaim against the DEP and voting to legalize nonviolent direct action against any state or corporate entity that infringes upon the community’s right to self-government. Colin Jerolmack, The New Republic, 26 July 2022 His election lawyer, Jeffrey A. Mandell, said that if a liberal candidate won, Mr. Mandell would ask the State Supreme Court to take direct action to invalidate the state’s legislative maps on Aug. 2, the day after the new justice is seated. Reid J. Epstein, New York Times, 25 Jan. 2023 Serving as a conscious model for P.A.I.N. was ACT UP—the activist group established, in 1987, to protest, through civil disobedience and direct action, the neglectful and bigoted government response to the AIDS epidemic. Naomi Fry, The New Yorker, 3 Dec. 2022 His army was in the world of immediate and direct action. Fintan O’toole, The New York Review of Books, 21 Dec. 2022 And with the direct action of these little hammers on the strings, with the natural decay in the mechanism, there’s suddenly a lot more space between the notes. Alex Ross, The New Yorker, 14 Nov. 2022 This strike, then, offers the Biden administration a fig leaf, demonstrating that even in Taliban hands, Afghanistan is not off limits for direct action against terrorist targets. Abdul El-sayed, The New Republic, 5 Aug. 2022 See More

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.

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 24 Mar. 2023.

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

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