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 September the Science Based Targets initiative, a program that helps companies set climate goals in line with scientific understanding, published guidance stating that offsets should complement, not replace direct action to reduce emissions. Eric Roston,, "A New UN Push Aims to Feed the World’s Rabid Hunger for Carbon Credits," 19 Nov. 2020 In most cases, direct action tactics have involved targeted vandalism, such as damaging police buildings. Jamie Goldberg, oregonlive, "Protesters smash Portland shop windows, leaving downtown businesses reeling again," 6 Nov. 2020 The task force will help with voter registration, display photos of students in Black Lives Matter T-shirts on campus, train students in direct action activism and provide other forms of training and safe spaces. Sarah Ladd, The Courier-Journal, "Mourning Breonna Taylor, Kentucky State University creates W.O.K.E. task force," 25 Sep. 2020 For all the national attention, the daily work of direct action was a decidedly grassroots affair maintained by a relatively small but consistent group of Louisville residents. Emily Witt, The New Yorker, "Despite a National Outcry, Activists in Louisville Fight the Breonna Taylor Decision Alone," 29 Sep. 2020 Community and university leaders have taken much more direct action elsewhere. Gary Robbins, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Faculty sharply question Adela de la Torre’s handling of SDSU’s COVID-19 crisis," 26 Sep. 2020 Green emphasized his focus on nonviolent direct action. Sarah Ladd, The Courier-Journal, "LMPD is meeting peaceful protesters with 'unacceptable' aggression, group says," 27 Aug. 2020 Rita Katz, director of the SITE Intelligence Group, said there are stark differences in the types of direct action promoted online by left and right-wing extremists. Washington Post, "Violent memes and messages surging on far-left social media, a new report finds," 14 Sep. 2020 Trained in nonviolent direct action by the Rev. James Lawson Jr. in Nashville while still in seminary, Lewis played an integral part in desegregating public accommodations in the South. Dwight Weingarten, The Christian Science Monitor, "John Lewis believed in nonviolence. His faith led the way.," 9 Sep. 2020

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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Time Traveler for direct action

Time Traveler

The first known use of direct action was in 1912

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Statistics for direct action

Last Updated

23 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Direct action.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Nov. 2020.

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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

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