di·rec·to·ry | \ də-ˈrek-t(ə-)rē , 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

According to the 1912 directory, their father, A.B. Slimp, and Chester both worked at the Dixie Oil Co. at 400 E. Commerce — all in plausible walking distance within the same wide area southeast of the center city. Paula Allen, San Antonio Express-News, "Small world southeast of downtown San Antonio fell to progress," 16 June 2018 There is no official directory, but the statue of Brooks is believed to be only the second statue or bust of an African-American woman in the city. Lolly Bowean,, "On Gwendolyn Brooks' birthday, a statue of the powerful poet will be unveiled on the South Side," 6 June 2018 The operating-room telephones normally display a directory of numbers to supply rooms or nurse stations, the surgical nurse said, but because that was inaccessible, a nurse had to scramble from the room to get the instruments the surgeon needed. Cathie Anderson, sacbee, "A computer system failure hit Sutter Health. Now, patients and nurses are concerned | The Sacramento Bee," 20 May 2018 According to Google, social-media sites, directories, news articles, and government pages make up most of the links that people want removed. Rossalyn Warren, The Atlantic, "Should the Internet Forget Italy's Most Viral Sex Tape?," 16 May 2018 According to The Beijinger, an online English-language directory and calendar of events, at least five Wudaokou bars and restaurants were forced to temporarily close in January of last year to make mandated upgrades in fire safety. Olivia Mitchell Ryan And Steven Lee Myers, New York Times, "A Bar Street Falls Quiet as Beijing Puts a Limit on Foreigners," 15 Mar. 2018 These ratings are available on new directories, along with more general information about quality markers that parents can look for during visits. Michael Alison Chandler, Washington Post, "Online directories aim to improve the search for child care," 24 Feb. 2018 Some directories promote the resources that pay to be promoted, which might not be best for the person seeking help, according to Berry. Joel Shannon, USA TODAY, "It's surprisingly hard to seek mental health help. This website can make it easier.," 27 June 2018 Back in March, Lindsay began starring in commercials and other promotions for the lawyer directory site. Claire Dodson, Teen Vogue, "Lindsay Lohan Made a "Parent Trap" Reference to Advertise Her Partnership With," 25 June 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 , dī- \
plural directories

Kids Definition of directory

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on directory

Spanish Central: Translation of directory

Nglish: Translation of directory for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of directory for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about directory

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