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 The effort includes a resource directory of more than 230 service providers and other business resources. John Gallagher, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit entrepreneurs get new story-telling campaign to celebrate, inspire," 21 Nov. 2019 The changes center around the Domain Name System, a decentralized directory that acts essentially as the internet's address book. Wired, "A Controversial Plan to Encrypt More of the Internet," 9 Oct. 2019 There is a national directory of black therapists on Therapy for Black Girls that allows you to search specifically for providers who offer virtual therapy services. Patia Braithwaite, SELF, "Mental Health in Black Moms Is Largely Ignored—5 Ways We Can Improve It," 30 Sep. 2019 Yeshanew included in his report a screenshot of a directory of the records related to the problem that showed a final entry that was time-stamped March 11. Washington Post, "Airline went into records after Max crash, engineer says," 8 Oct. 2019 Yeshanew included in his report a screenshot of a directory of the records related to the problem that showed a final entry that was time-stamped March 11. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Airline went into records after Max crash, engineer says," 7 Oct. 2019 There's no record of her whereabouts for almost a decade — until her name appeared in the 1951 city directory for Jacksonville. Kori Rumore,, "A Tribune reporter wrote the hit play ‘Chicago’ after covering Cook County murder trials. Decades later, we owe her an obituary.," 8 Aug. 2019 According to the Glendale History Room, Five Points Pharmacy first appeared in the 1927 city directory at 469 Burchett. Katherine Yamada,, "Verdugo Views: Five Points intersection holds history and memories," 28 June 2019 Facebook reimagined the college directory, Uber the taxi business. The Economist, "How robotic furniture will improve our lives," 23 Aug. 2019

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

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

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Cite this Entry

“Directory.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 13 December 2019.

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More Definitions for directory



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

What made you want to look up directory? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


easily led, controlled, or managed

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