di·​rect | \ də-ˈrekt How to pronounce direct (audio) , dī- \
directed; directing; directs

Definition of direct

 (Entry 1 of 3)

transitive verb

1 : to cause to turn, move, or point undeviatingly or to follow a straight course X-rays directed through the body
2 : to point, extend, or project in a specified line or course direct the nozzle downward
3a : to regulate the activities or course of directs a staff of over 200 employees
b : to carry out the organizing, energizing, and supervising of direct a project directed a call center
c : to train and lead performances of direct a movie directing a famous actor
d : to dominate and determine the course of … will not find it preposterous that the past should be altered by the present as much as the present is directed by the past.— T. S. Eliot
4a : to impart orally directed the remark to her fellow senators
b : to mark with the name and address of the intended recipient
c : to adapt in expression so as to have particular applicability arguments directed at the emotions
d obsolete : to write (a letter) to a person
5 : to show or point out the way for signs directing us to the entrance
6 : to request or enjoin (see enjoin sense 1) with authority the judge directed the jury to acquit

intransitive verb

1 : to act as director of a show or musical ensemble She both acted and directed in the film.
2 : to point out, prescribe, or determine a course or procedure



Definition of direct (Entry 2 of 3)

1a : proceeding from one point to another in time or space without deviation or interruption : straight a direct line
b : proceeding by the shortest way the direct route
2a : stemming immediately from a source direct result
b : being or passing in a straight line of descent from parent to offspring : lineal direct ancestor
c : having no compromising or impairing element a direct insult
3 : natural, straightforward a direct manner asked him to be more direct was direct in her criticism
4a : marked by absence of an intervening agency, instrumentality, or influence making direct observations of nature
b : effected or brought about by the action of the people or the electorate and not by representatives direct democracy
c : consisting of or reproducing the exact words of a speaker or writer a direct quotation
5 : characterized by close logical, causal, or consequential relationship direct evidence
6 astronomy : having or being motion in the general planetary direction from west to east : not retrograde (see retrograde entry 1 sense 1a(1))
7 : capable of dyeing without the aid of a mordant



Definition of direct (Entry 3 of 3)

: in a direct (see direct entry 2) way: such as
a : from point to point without deviation : by the shortest way flew direct to Miami
b : from the source without interruption or diversion (see diversion sense 1) the writer must take his material direct from life— Douglas Stewart
c : without an intervening agency (see agency sense 3) or step buy direct from the manufacturer

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms & Antonyms for direct

Synonyms: Verb

Synonyms: Adjective

Synonyms: Adverb

Antonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Adverb

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Choose the Right Synonym for direct


command, order, bid, enjoin, direct, instruct, charge mean to issue orders. command and order imply authority and usually some degree of formality and impersonality. command stresses official exercise of authority. a general commanding troops order may suggest peremptory or arbitrary exercise. ordered his employees about bid suggests giving orders peremptorily (as to children or servants). she bade him be seated enjoin implies giving an order or direction authoritatively and urgently and often with admonition or solicitude. a sign enjoining patrons to be quiet direct and instruct both connote expectation of obedience and usually concern specific points of procedure or method, instruct sometimes implying greater explicitness or formality. directed her assistant to hold all calls the judge instructed the jury to ignore the remark charge adds to enjoin an implication of imposing as a duty or responsibility. charged by the President with a secret mission

conduct, manage, control, direct mean to use one's powers to lead, guide, or dominate. conduct implies taking responsibility for the acts and achievements of a group. conducted negotiations manage implies direct handling and manipulating or maneuvering toward a desired result. manages a meat market control implies a regulating or restraining in order to keep within bounds or on a course. controlling his appetite direct implies constant guiding and regulating so as to achieve smooth operation. directs the store's day-to-day business

Examples of direct in a Sentence

Verb Be sure that the water nozzle is directed downward. The sloping ground helps direct water away from the home. Let me direct your attention to the book's second chapter. We were asked to direct our thoughts and prayers to the people who survived the disaster. The students directed their efforts toward improving their community. A lot of the criticism has been directed toward the concert's organizers. He is responsible for directing the activities of the sales team. In my current position, I direct a staff of over 200 employees. We need someone to direct traffic. Adjective I found a more direct route to the city. That way is more direct. Keep these plants out of direct sunlight. The coastline was exposed to the direct force of the hurricane. The weather had a direct effect on our plans. There's a direct connection between the two events. The investigation began in direct response to the newspaper story. Adverb It costs less if you buy it direct from the manufacturer. flew direct to the coast
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Peyton Reed returned to direct his second Ant-Man film. Chris Hachey, BGR, 14 Oct. 2021 In honor of Cary Joji Fukunaga, the first Oakland native and Asian American man to direct a film in the iconic franchise, try this Bay Area-centric quiz. Gwendolyn Wu, San Francisco Chronicle, 7 Oct. 2021 López wrote the script in addition to being tapped to direct the film. Brent Lang, Variety, 1 Oct. 2021 Behind-the-scenes is just as much of a throwback, with frequent Sopranos episode director Alan Taylor returning to direct the film, and a script by Sopranos creator David Chase and former Sopranos writer Lawrence Konner. Sage Anderson, Rolling Stone, 30 Sep. 2021 Best known as the actor who played Gollum in The Lord of the Rings, Serkis was a natural choice to direct a film featuring another CGI creature with a bifurcated personality. David Sims, The Atlantic, 30 Sep. 2021 Ridley Scott is an interesting choice to direct a film about three generations of the house of Gucci, the famed Italian fashion line. Bill Goodykoontz, The Arizona Republic, 27 Aug. 2021 Some prominent Senate Republicans have urged the governor to call lawmakers into a special legislative session this year to direct immediate aid to hospitals to overcome staffing woes. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, 6 Oct. 2021 Under the guidelines, agencies are to direct workers to get their first shot within two weeks of an exemption request being denied, or the resolution of a medical condition. Compiled Democrat-gazette Staff From Wire Reports, Arkansas Online, 5 Oct. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective But none of the 680 or so large facilities the agency regulates have asked the state for help with staffing as a direct result of the vaccine mandate, Department of Human Services spokesperson Lisa Morawski said in an email. oregonlive, 20 Oct. 2021 The report notes that this recommendation came as a direct result of conversations with pilots. Zoë Sobel, Kucb, And Agnel Philip, Anchorage Daily News, 18 Oct. 2021 The predicament in which the Dodgers find themselves now is a direct result of what their front office did in Game 5 of their NL Division Series against the San Francisco Giants. Los Angeles Times, 18 Oct. 2021 All 24 Mint class seats have direct access to the aisle, and are arranged diagonally to maximize seat length and privacy. Eric Rosen, Condé Nast Traveler, 18 Oct. 2021 Asked about the challenge of holding down such a prolific offense, Belichick was direct., 18 Oct. 2021 Unlike the loss two weeks ago, the most recent upset — at Baylor on Saturday — wasn’t a direct result of turnovers. Norma Gonzalez, The Salt Lake Tribune, 17 Oct. 2021 Across the transportation, agriculture and construction industries, our products and services make our end customers much more efficient, and lower carbon consumption is a direct result of this efficiency. Jeff Thomson, Forbes, 15 Oct. 2021 As a standalone company, UMG will have direct access to capital markets to fund catalog acquisitions and acquire companies. Glenn Peoples, Billboard, 15 Oct. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb Taskmaster Saturn also turns direct at 10:17 pm EDT, moving us along the path to our ambitions. Tarot Astrologers,, 10 Oct. 2021 October 6 brings the Libra new moon, which commences the day Pluto stations direct again in Capricorn, after a retrograde that began on April 27. Lisa Stardust,, 5 Oct. 2021 The amp circuitry has symmetrical twin-mono signal paths that use iFi’s Direct Drive design concept – direct-coupled to ensure the signal path is clean and free of distortion-inducing output coupling capacitors. Mark Sparrow, Forbes, 9 Sep. 2021 Brands sometimes skip the influencers and go direct to users. Jackson Weimer, Forbes, 6 Oct. 2021 It’s time for the rose ceremony, and Wells tells us that this rose ceremony will start with bestowing Natasha with a special rose direct from production. Ali Barthwell, Vulture, 15 Sep. 2021 Only group winners advance direct to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. Graham Dunbar, ajc, 5 Sep. 2021 On June 22 at 6 pm EST, Mercury will finally station direct in Gemini, ending its backwards dance and one of the most chaotic transits of this year. Elizabeth Gulino,, 21 June 2021 Customers get tickets sent direct to their phones, so there is no more queuing to at the box office. David Prosser, Forbes, 9 Sep. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'direct.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of direct


14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 4d


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 6


14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for direct

Verb and Adverb

Middle English, from Anglo-French directer, from Latin directus straight, from past participle of dirigere to direct — more at dress


Middle English, from Latin directus — see direct entry 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More About direct

Time Traveler for direct

Time Traveler

The first known use of direct was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near direct




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for direct

Last Updated

21 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Direct.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Oct. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for direct



English Language Learners Definition of direct

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: to cause (someone or something) to turn, move, or point in a particular way
: to cause (someone's attention, thoughts, emotions, etc.) to relate to a particular person, thing, goal, etc.
: to say (something) to a particular person or group



English Language Learners Definition of direct (Entry 2 of 3)

: going the shortest distance from one place to another : going straight without turning or stopping
: coming straight from a source
: coming straight from a cause or reason : connected or related to something in a clear way



English Language Learners Definition of direct (Entry 3 of 3)

: in a straight line without turning or stopping
: straight from a source with nothing and nobody in between


di·​rect | \ də-ˈrekt How to pronounce direct (audio) , dī- \
directed; directing

Kids Definition of direct

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : to cause to point or move in a particular direction Direct your light over here.
2 : to cause to focus on direct your attention
3 : to show or tell the way Signs directed us to the exit.
4 : to put an address on direct a letter
5 : order entry 1 sense 2, command Bake as directed.
6 : to manage or control the making or activities of direct a play She directs a large company.



Kids Definition of direct (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : going from one point to another without turning or stopping : straight a direct route
2 : coming straight from a cause or source … the skunk … sprayed Brian with a direct shot …— Gary Paulsen, Hatchet
3 : said or done in a clear and honest way a direct answer
4 : being in an unbroken family line a direct ancestor
5 : exact entry 1 a direct translation a direct hit

Other Words from direct

directness noun



Kids Definition of direct (Entry 3 of 3)

: directly sense 1 I flew direct to Paris.


transitive verb

Legal Definition of direct

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : to order with authority the testator directed that the car go to his niece
2 : to order entry of (a verdict) without jury consideration the court directed a verdict in favor of the defendant
3 : to act as director of

intransitive verb

: to act as director



Legal Definition of direct (Entry 2 of 3)

1a : stemming immediately from a source direct costs a direct claim — compare derivative
b : being or passing in a straight line from parent to offspring : lineal a direct ancestor — compare collateral
2 : marked by absence of any intervening agency, instrumentality, or influence direct consequences
3 : effected by the action of the people or the electorate and not by representatives direct democracy
4 : characterized by close logical, causal, or consequential relationship a direct interest in the outcome of the litigation

Other Words from direct

directly adverb



Legal Definition of direct (Entry 3 of 3)

: direct examination testimony given on direct

More from Merriam-Webster on direct

Nglish: Translation of direct for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of direct for Arabic Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Dog Words Quiz

  • shiba puppy more or less demanding cuddles
  • Which of the following animals has a dog in its etymology?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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