di·​rec·​to·​ry | \ də-ˈrek-t(ə-)rē How to pronounce directory (audio) , dī-\

Definition of directory

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: serving to direct specifically : providing advisory but not compulsory guidance


plural directories

Definition of directory (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : a book or collection of directions, rules, or ordinances
b : an alphabetical or classified list (as of names and addresses)
2 : a body of directors

Examples of directory in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Operation Soft Cell gave hackers access to the carriers’ entire active directory, an exposure of hundreds of millions of users, Cybereason said. Eva Dou, WSJ, "Global Telecom Carriers Attacked by Suspected Chinese Hackers," 24 June 2019 The Angels’ staff directory, for instance, lists fewer than 300 full-time employees based in Anaheim. Bill Shaikin,, "L.A. doesn’t pay to build sports stadiums, but billions are generated from them anyway," 24 June 2019 Brebeuf will no longer be listed in the official Catholic directory, and school officials won't be invited to meetings of other Catholic school administrators. Arika Herron, Indianapolis Star, "Brebeuf Jesuit is no longer part of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis. What that means for the school.," 21 June 2019 And view a directory, at the bottom of the page, to get a sense of how the market will be laid out. Bailey Loosemore, The Courier-Journal, "Your complete guide to Louisville's Logan Street Market with 25+ vendors and restaurants," 5 June 2019 The earliest cell phones required you to transfer your entire directory by hand, from the old unit to the new one; now, with cloud technology, your contacts are automatically downloaded. Kim Komando, USA TODAY, "20 everyday tasks that nobody does anymore," 13 June 2019 But as the directory expanded from the initial 25 designers to more than 140, the proportion of women to men sadly never righted itself—until now. Ingrid Abramovitch, ELLE Decor, "The Women on This Year's ELLE Decor A-List Outnumber the Men," 22 May 2019 Warren also listed herself as a minority in a legal directory published by the Association of American Law Schools from 1986 to 1995. James Freeman, WSJ, "Did Elizabeth Warren Just Kill Identity Politics?," 15 Oct. 2018 Apple could also have disabled copy-on-write when running on a hard drive or Fusion Drive, but the feature seemed to be working as intended when copying large directories and files from one folder to another on an external hard drive. Andrew Cunningham, Ars Technica, "macOS 10.14 Mojave: The Ars Technica review," 24 Sep. 2018

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


15th century, in the meaning defined above


1543, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for directory


Middle English directorie guide, from Medieval Latin directorium, from neuter of Late Latin directorius directorial, from Latin dirigere

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Time Traveler for directory

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

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English Language Learners Definition of directory

: a book that contains an alphabetical list of names of people, businesses, etc.


di·​rec·​to·​ry | \ də-ˈrek-tə-rē How to pronounce directory (audio) , dī-\
plural directories

Kids Definition of directory

: a book containing an alphabetical list of names, addresses, and telephone numbers

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Comments on directory

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an act or instance of editing or removing

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