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

And then there’s his absurd speed and effortless changes of direction. Tom Perrotta, WSJ, "Hockey’s Best Player Wants to Bring the Stanley Cup Back to Edmonton," 9 Nov. 2018 Why this matters: While some features fall away in the course of development, the early builds are still a good way to gauge the direction of the OS. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "Hints of Windows 10's 2019 future show up in early '19H1' builds," 6 Nov. 2018 Rolf and Mette Hay oversee the brand’s creative direction and the two worked in the furniture industry prior to founding Hay. Diana Budds, Curbed, "Is America ready for Denmark’s coolest design brand?," 1 Nov. 2018 Meanwhile, cook farro according to the package directions. Anna Helm Baxter, Country Living, "Farro-and-Acorn Squash Salad," 30 Oct. 2018 Cook lentils per package directions. Drain and rinse to cool. Joy Bauer, Ms, Woman's Day, "Lentil Hummus," 25 Oct. 2018 And my left side is asking for directions from a broken GPS. Ilana Kaplan, Allure, "Selma Blair Reveals She Has Multiple Sclerosis in Heartfelt Post," 22 Oct. 2018 Damon and Stefan: Vampire Diaries Season 1 Episode 2 with @paulvedere and getting direction from the amazing @msiega. Tamara Fuentes, Seventeen, "“The Vampire Diaries” Star Ian Somerhalder Posted a Throwback Photo and Paul Wesley Had the Best Response," 18 Oct. 2018 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

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

14 Nov 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).


something that serves to warn or remind

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