di·​rec·​tion | \ də-ˈrek-shən How to pronounce direction (audio) , dī-\

Definition of direction

1 : guidance or supervision of action or conduct : management working under the direction of the doctor
2 archaic : the address placed on the outside of a letter or package to be delivered : superscription
3a : an explicit instruction : order carefully read the directions follow directions
b : assistance in pointing out the proper route usually used in plural asked for directions to the beach
4 : the line or course on which something is moving or is aimed to move or along which something is pointing or facing came from the opposite direction walking in the same direction
5 archaic : directorate sense 1
6a : a channel or direct course of thought or action deciding which direction to take as a writer
c : a guiding, governing, or motivating purpose His life lacked direction.
7a : the art and technique of supervising the production of a show or performance : the art and technique of directing an orchestra, band, or a show (as for stage or screen)
b music : a word, phrase, or sign indicating the appropriate tempo, mood, or intensity of a passage (see passage entry 1 sense 6b) or movement (see movement sense 4c)

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Other Words from direction

directionless \ də-​ˈrek-​shən-​ləs How to pronounce directionless (audio) \ adjective
directionlessness noun

Examples of direction in a Sentence

The army attacked from three different directions. Down the road, he could see a bus coming from the opposite direction. The wind changed direction and started blowing in our faces. Carefully read the directions before you begin the test. Directions appear on the package. We had to stop to ask for directions to the beach. Excuse me. Could you please give me directions to the movie theater? He was put in charge and given overall direction of the program. Twenty-three employees work under her direction. Several nurses working under the direction of this doctor have made complaints.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Of course, these two efforts to change the political trajectory of the country went in opposite ideological directions. Jeffrey Toobin, The New Yorker, "Politics Changed the Reading of the Second Amendment—and Can Change It Again," 5 Aug. 2019 Colors to avoid in these in these directions: North – shades of red and yellow; South – blue, black, and gray; East – gray and stark white; West – green. Rose Meily, The Mercury News, "Real deal: Vastu seeks to harmonize the home with nature," 2 Aug. 2019 Find a direction, find a school, find a career, find a mate. Cathy Schulman, Glamour, "Nobody Talks About the 'Otherhood' Stage of Life—So I Made a Movie About It," 2 Aug. 2019 Rock and roll was growing up fast, demanding to be taken seriously and shooting off in many directions. Andrew R. Chow, Time, "Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood," 29 July 2019 Team leaders are confident Orlando City is heading in the right direction under coach James O’Connor and will earn its first playoff bid later this year. Julia Poe, Pro Soccer USA, "Orlando City took challenging path to MLS all-star spotlight," 28 July 2019 In its current form, the hand, equipped with 19 touch and positioning sensors, can move in six directions. Meilan Solly, Smithsonian, "Robotic Hand Restores Wearer’s Sense of Touch," 26 July 2019 On two miles of road at a time, traffic will alternate directions on one lane, regulated by pilot cars, while work is done on the other lane. John Meyer, The Know, "Traffic at Rocky Mountain National Park is about to get even worse," 25 July 2019 Below that point, the axles steer in opposite directions for more nimble maneuvering—the turning radius drops by nearly two feet (60cm) with dynamic chassis control engaged. Eric Bangeman, Ars Technica, "Porsche Cayenne E-Hybrid first drive: This plug-in hybrid is a blast," 24 July 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'direction.' 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 direction

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for direction

see direct entry 1

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Statistics for direction

Last Updated

8 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for direction

The first known use of direction was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for direction



English Language Learners Definition of direction

: the course or path on which something is moving or pointing
: a statement that tells a person what to do and how to do it : an order or instruction
: instructions that tell you how to go to a place


di·​rec·​tion | \ də-ˈrek-shən How to pronounce direction (audio) , dī-\

Kids Definition of direction

1 : the path along which something moves, lies, or points I'm coming from the opposite direction.
2 : an order or instruction to be followed Read the directions first.
3 : instructions on how to get somewhere
4 : supervision, management He took over direction of the project.

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Comments on direction

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


marked by turns or indirection

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