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

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 The strategy marked a coup of sorts: this one within the country’s notoriously fractious opposition, which had been locked in debate over whether to negotiate with Mr. Maduro or take more direct action. Juan Forero, WSJ, "‘What the Hell Is Going On?’ How a Small Group Seized Control of Venezuela’s Opposition," 7 Feb. 2019 Leaders have a few ideas about what to do next, including the possibility of a GND caucus in the House (after all, the membership has already mostly identified itself) and continued direct action. David Roberts, Vox, "The Green New Deal, explained," 21 Dec. 2018 The biggest holdup to direct action on climate is showing that preventing these changes would be cheaper than enduring them (after factoring in scientific uncertainty). Holman W. Jenkins, WSJ, "Climate Change Is Affordable," 27 Nov. 2018 Neither federal nor state officials said if direct action was being taken in response. Jonathan Hunt, Fox News, "Commerce chief scolds California over environmental policies he says hinder firefighters: ‘Lives are at stake’," 9 Aug. 2018 One protestors decided to take the direct action a step beyond the protest by offering up a phone number for the Capitol Hill switchboard on a sign. Emily Bloch, Teen Vogue, "The Most Powerful Signs From the #BelieveSurvivors Walkout and Kavanaugh Protests," 24 Sep. 2018 This is folks who are alleged to have taken direct action to prevent the president from carrying out some of his worst instincts or worse decisions. Fox News, "Pence on impact of anonymous NYT op-ed, Woodward's new book," 9 Sep. 2018 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

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

31 Mar 2019

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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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to move or proceed with twists and turns

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