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
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 \ 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

In the novel version Murtagh dies during the Battle of Culloden, which made his brief cameo as Jamie’s fellow Ardsmuir prisoner the first hint the show was going in a different direction with the character. Sarene Leeds, Glamour, "7 Times Outlander Didn't Follow What Happened in the Book," 3 Dec. 2018 Scores above zero mean the two prices tend to move together in the same direction, with the relationship strengthening as the measure gets closer to 1. Kevin Kingsbury, WSJ, "Energy Shares Shed Crude Relationship With Oil Prices," 20 Nov. 2018 Both seem to be trending in a positive direction, with the Lions and Seahawks each having won three of their past four. Mike Vorel, The Seattle Times, "Five things to know about the Seahawks’ next opponent, the Detroit Lions," 23 Oct. 2018 In the video, Meghan can be seen pressing a button which sets off a chain of events, appearing to blow some smoke in her direction, and making a loud noise that catches her by complete surprise. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "Students Just Scared the Bejesus out of Meghan Markle During the Royal Tour," 18 Oct. 2018 But, this culture has spread so much, though, that sometimes their direction is reversed. Eric Johnson, Recode, "Elites like Amazon’s Jeff Bezos think they’re being philanthropic. But they could do so much more.," 3 Oct. 2018 Additional variables like wind shear—the variance in wind speed and direction over a short distance—only serve to complicate predictions further. Eric Limer, Popular Mechanics, "How Many Hurricanes Can There Be at Once?," 10 Sep. 2018 Then, last season, their new-direction rebuilding efforts were stymied by a midseason hot streak that left them on the outside of the tanking race, ultimately forcing them to settle for the 7th pick in the draft. Andrew Sharp,, "Kevin Knox, Wendell Carter Jr., and Midsummer Hope for the Knicks and Bulls," 13 July 2018 What began upending this bargain was China’s turn over the past decade in a more mercantilist, militarily aggressive and politically authoritarian direction, a trend that has only gained momentum since the ascent of Xi Jinping in 2012. Orville Schell And Larry Diamond, WSJ, "China Gets Its Message to Americans but Doesn’t Want to Reciprocate," 21 Dec. 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 Jan 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

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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