di·​rec·​tion | \də-ˈrek-shən, 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

b : tendency, trend

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 \ -​ləs \ 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

That’s partly because the play’s performers, under Mr. Mendes’s impeccably paced direction, are so inventively mutable. Ben Brantley, New York Times, "Review: ‘The Lehman Trilogy’ Is a Transfixing Epic of Riches and Ruin," 13 July 2018 No, not a directional compass, which could feasibly (and legally) be used to accurately judge wind direction. Daniel Rapaport,, "FORE Questions: Breaking Down the New PGA Tour Schedule," 12 July 2018 That means different factions within parties can actually sway others’ policy stances, and presumably the party’s direction. Benjamin Toff, Washington Post, "How worried are you about an impending trade war? That might depend on what your fellow party members think," 12 July 2018 Right now, Drummond is focusing on getting the general direction of the cookbook nailed down., "The Pioneer Woman Is Following Chrissy Teigen's Process To Write Her Next Cookbook," 12 July 2018 School leaders should also address conflicting directions between a fire drill and lockdown drill so that students and staff know what to do in the event of a fire alarm during a lockdown, the committee wrote. Shelby Webb, Houston Chronicle, "Clear Creek ISD security panel opts against metal detectors, armed teachers," 12 July 2018 The tourist would look for nearby landmarks, like restaurants, bars, and coffee shops, and the guide would give them directions. James Vincent, The Verge, "Facebook sets a new task for AI: guide a virtual tourist around New York," 11 July 2018 Now that conservatives firmly control the court’s direction, their rulings may prompt a similar pushback from liberals in the years to come. William Cummings, USA TODAY, "It's the Constitution, not Brett Kavanaugh liberals don't like, conservatives say," 11 July 2018 Workers will direct alternate directions of traffic through the single open lane when safe to do so. Ramona Sentinel, "Caltrans begins $11M repairs on Route 78," 11 July 2018

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

31 Oct 2018

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

directions : 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, 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).


obstinately defiant of authority

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