di·​rect | \də-ˈrekt, dī-\

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

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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 like slaves 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


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.


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.


It costs less if you buy it direct from the manufacturer. flew direct to the coast
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

In lieu of flowers, contributions in her memory may be directed to the Muscular Dystrophy Association, Hartford Courant,, "Ann Kelly," 14 July 2018 Tell them they can be directed to Jeffrey Tambor, Jared Leto and Felicity Huffman’s reps for comment. Mia Galuppo, The Hollywood Reporter, "Scarlett Johansson Drops Out of 'Rub & Tug' Trans Film Following Backlash," 13 July 2018 They were directed to the rear yard by a resident who had called 911. Jennifer Baker,, "Police shoot, kill pit bull after 2 attacked in NKY," 13 July 2018 Oskar Eustis and Kwame Kwei-Armah direct this musical visit to Illyria, conceived by the writer-composer Shaina Taub and Mr. Kwei-Armah. Alexis Soloski, New York Times, "12 Plays and Musicals to Go to in N.Y.C. This Weekend," 12 July 2018 Gail Hart, a spokeswoman for Comprehensive Health Services, said all questions about the shelter should be directed to the Office of Refugee Resettlement within the Department of Health and Human Services. Aaron Leibowitz, miamiherald, "Harsh prison or cushy camp? Ex-staffers have different takes on life at Homestead shelter," 11 July 2018 Questions about this project may be directed to Rick Cochran, Harford County Department of Public Works, Bureau of Construction Inspections at (410) 638-3217 ext. The Aegis, "New Park Road in Norrisville to close six months for bridge replacement," 11 July 2018 There is a sign on the building directing customers to a Jiffy Lube location at 5401 W. 159th St. in Oak Forest. Bob Bong, Daily Southtown, "Comings & Goings: ‘Top Chef’ concession stand opens at Toyota Park," 10 July 2018 While younger people have grown up with computers and are used to them, older workers can be intimidated and most need one-on-one support, which Murphy's program can provide or direct them to. Robert Mccabe, The Christian Science Monitor, "AARP helps seniors find steady jobs," 9 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

That is neither a financial argument nor a (direct) results argument. Jim Troha, Washington Post, "Value matters in choosing a college. But not just the price kind.," 13 July 2018 Now that exchange rates float, the effect is less direct, and a country can pay for imports by borrowing in the capital markets, as the U.S. has since the late 1970s. Greg Ip, WSJ, "U.S. Exporters Will Be a Surprise Loser From Tariff Fight," 9 July 2018 Insikt Group made direct contact with the hacker, who responded. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Air Force Drone Documents Are Being Sold on Dark Web," 11 July 2018 That's true as long as those people aren’t in direct contact with that wiring or plumbing. Weldon B. Johnson, azcentral, "Grand Canyon gets the most lightning strikes among popular parks," 6 July 2018 The closure will be in effect until next Tuesday and prohibits swimming, kayaking, paddleboarding and other activities that involve direct water contact. Pamela Wood,, "More than 40,000 gallons of sewage spills near Annapolis," 4 July 2018 There’s been no direct contact between the two since Inauguration Day. Gabriel Debenedetti, Daily Intelligencer, "Where Is Barack Obama?," 24 June 2018 Because the difference between a non-stop flight and a direct flight could easily be a couple of hundred bucks, Arty had to disappoint her. Joseph O’neill, The New Yorker, "The First World," 21 June 2018 In a lot of ways, this program seems like a direct response and a corrective to the specific gripes that MoviePass users have made about that service’s restrictions. Yohana Desta, HWD, "Move Over, MoviePass: AMC Announces a Subscription Service of Its Own," 20 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb

Extra fresh: Single Fin Kitchen’s seafood comes direct from Catalina Offshore Products’ Tommy Gomes (as does Not Not Tacos’). Michele Parente,, "Little Italy Food Hall, a delicious gastro-gathering place, opens today," 12 July 2018 JTACs are the airmen on the ground who direct during close air support and strike operations alongside other services' troops. Sean Gallagher, Ars Technica, "Air Force tests two turboprops as potential A-10 “replacements”," 19 June 2018 Whatever your personal lesson was, keep it in mind after this planet goes direct next week., "This 4-Month Retrograde Will End Next Week — Is Your Luck About To Change?," 5 July 2018 The hit show reveals how top-charting Billboard artists’ biggest hits came to be by combining stories direct from the artists themselves with fun animation and sound effects. Gil Kaufman, Billboard, "Billboard Debuts 'How It Went Down' on IGTV With Story Behind Troye Sivan's 'My My My'," 21 June 2018 On July 10, Jupiter will finally turn direct, so from July 10 – November 8, you will be well positioned for a serious commitment and a very exciting one with such a strong Jupiter. Rebecca Gordon, Harper's BAZAAR, "How to Find Summer Romance According to the Stars," 21 June 2018 Today, Sophie Monet Jewelry is sold direct-to-consumer but also in shops like Anthropologie and Lane Crawford, as well as a wide array of independent stores across the world. Brooke Bobb, Vogue, "Meet the Venice Beach Jewelry Designer Who Works Side-by-Side With Her Dad," 15 June 2018 Mulford and her staff plan seasonal menus, sourcing ingredients direct from New England farmers, butchers, and cheesemongers., "Let Uncommon Feasts do the cooking," 11 June 2018 Though Gazans direct much of their anger at Israel, many are also frustrated with Hamas and its secular rival Fatah, which leads the Palestinian Authority, headquartered in Ramallah, in the West Bank. Alexandra Zavis,, "In Gaza Strip protests, the anger has many targets," 14 May 2018

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.

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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


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


see direct entry 1

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Learn More about direct

Dictionary Entries near direct







direct action

Statistics for direct

Last Updated

10 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for direct

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

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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, 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.


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

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Comments on direct

What made you want to look up direct? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to express warning or disapproval

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