di·​rect | \ də-ˈrekt How to pronounce direct (audio) , dī-\
directed; directing; directs

Definition of direct

 (Entry 1 of 3)

transitive verb

1 : to cause to turn, move, or point undeviatingly or to follow a straight course X-rays directed through the body
2 : to point, extend, or project in a specified line or course direct the nozzle downward
3a : to regulate the activities or course of directs a staff of over 200 employees
b : to carry out the organizing, energizing, and supervising of direct a project directed a call center
c : to train and lead performances of direct a movie directing a famous actor
d : to dominate and determine the course of … will not find it preposterous that the past should be altered by the present as much as the present is directed by the past.— T. S. Eliot
4a : to impart orally directed the remark to her fellow senators
b : to mark with the name and address of the intended recipient
c : to adapt in expression so as to have particular applicability arguments directed at the emotions
d obsolete : to write (a letter) to a person
5 : to show or point out the way for signs directing us to the entrance
6 : to request or enjoin (see enjoin sense 1) with authority the judge directed the jury to acquit

intransitive verb

1 : to act as director of a show or musical ensemble She both acted and directed in the film.
2 : to point out, prescribe, or determine a course or procedure



Definition of direct (Entry 2 of 3)

1a : proceeding from one point to another in time or space without deviation or interruption : straight a direct line
b : proceeding by the shortest way the direct route
2a : stemming immediately from a source direct result
b : being or passing in a straight line of descent from parent to offspring : lineal direct ancestor
c : having no compromising or impairing element a direct insult
3 : natural, straightforward a direct manner asked him to be more direct was direct in her criticism
4a : marked by absence of an intervening agency, instrumentality, or influence making direct observations of nature
b : effected or brought about by the action of the people or the electorate and not by representatives direct democracy
c : consisting of or reproducing the exact words of a speaker or writer a direct quotation
5 : characterized by close logical, causal, or consequential relationship direct evidence
6 astronomy : having or being motion in the general planetary direction from west to east : not retrograde (see retrograde entry 1 sense 1a(1))
7 : capable of dyeing without the aid of a mordant



Definition of direct (Entry 3 of 3)

: in a direct (see direct entry 2) way: such as
a : from point to point without deviation : by the shortest way flew direct to Miami
b : from the source without interruption or diversion (see diversion sense 1) the writer must take his material direct from life— Douglas Stewart
c : without an intervening agency (see agency sense 3) or step buy direct from the manufacturer

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Synonyms & Antonyms for direct

Synonyms: Verb

Synonyms: Adjective

Synonyms: Adverb

Antonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Adverb

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Choose the Right Synonym for direct


command, order, bid, enjoin, direct, instruct, charge mean to issue orders. command and order imply authority and usually some degree of formality and impersonality. command stresses official exercise of authority. a general commanding troops order may suggest peremptory or arbitrary exercise. ordered his employees about like slaves bid suggests giving orders peremptorily (as to children or servants). she bade him be seated enjoin implies giving an order or direction authoritatively and urgently and often with admonition or solicitude. a sign enjoining patrons to be quiet direct and instruct both connote expectation of obedience and usually concern specific points of procedure or method, instruct sometimes implying greater explicitness or formality. directed her assistant to hold all calls the judge instructed the jury to ignore the remark charge adds to enjoin an implication of imposing as a duty or responsibility. charged by the President with a secret mission

conduct, manage, control, direct mean to use one's powers to lead, guide, or dominate. conduct implies taking responsibility for the acts and achievements of a group. conducted negotiations manage implies direct handling and manipulating or maneuvering toward a desired result. manages a meat market control implies a regulating or restraining in order to keep within bounds or on a course. controlling his appetite direct implies constant guiding and regulating so as to achieve smooth operation. directs the store's day-to-day business

Examples of direct in a Sentence

Verb Be sure that the water nozzle is directed downward. The sloping ground helps direct water away from the home. Let me direct your attention to the book's second chapter. We were asked to direct our thoughts and prayers to the people who survived the disaster. The students directed their efforts toward improving their community. A lot of the criticism has been directed toward the concert's organizers. He is responsible for directing the activities of the sales team. In my current position, I direct a staff of over 200 employees. We need someone to direct traffic. Adjective I found a more direct route to the city. That way is more direct. Keep these plants out of direct sunlight. The coastline was exposed to the direct force of the hurricane. The weather had a direct effect on our plans. There's a direct connection between the two events. The investigation began in direct response to the newspaper story. Adverb It costs less if you buy it direct from the manufacturer. flew direct to the coast
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb They are simply directed by the political team to help fulfill the desires of political donors, no matter the cost to Americans. Oliver Milman, Scientific American, "The Silenced: Meet the Climate Whistle-Blowers Muzzled by the Trump Administration," 17 Sep. 2019 The film is a testament to the power of women at the box office (and behind-the-scenes given it was written, directed, and produced by women). Maureen Lee Lenker,, "Hustlers earns Jennifer Lopez a career high opening with $33.2 million debut," 15 Sep. 2019 The film, which was already released in the United Kingdom, was directed by Academy Award-winner Asif Kapadia and will have a limited release in theaters in the United States starting Sept. 20. Emily Caron,, "HBO Releases Moving Trailer for Upcoming Diego Maradona Documentary," 13 Sep. 2019 The requirements of the director position are different than those of a fire chief, and the director would be more focused in directing and acting as architect of a system than commanding fire scenes. Catalina Righter,, "Carroll County getting closer to first director of fire and EMS, with job listing coming soon," 12 Sep. 2019 First was this scramble and deep ball to Chris Olave, where Fields read the field, escaped the pocket, directed Olave and then threw the ball on target 43 yards in the air without setting his feet. Doug Lesmerises,, "Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields showed in two throws everything he can be," 8 Sep. 2019 David Raboy wrote, directed and edited The Giant, his first feature, and those multiple credits turn out to be one or two things too many. Caryn James, The Hollywood Reporter, "'The Giant': Film Review | TIFF 2019," 8 Sep. 2019 They will be directed back on to westbound Highway 24 at Laurel Drive. Trisha Thadani,, "Part of both directions of Highway 24 to temporarily close Monday afternoon," 2 Sep. 2019 Written and directed by Miss Congeniality scribe Marc Lawrence, Noelle will be released November 12. Alexis Reliford,, "Anna Kendrick Is Coming For A Christmas Prince's Holiday Movie Crown," 24 Aug. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Each brooch comes with a certificate commemorating the life of a woman who lost her life as a direct result of the First World War. Stephanie Petit,, "Kate Middleton Chose a Very Special Accessory to Complete Her All-Blue Look at Charity Launch," 7 Nov. 2019 More than 100,000 people have died since 2015, including more than 12,000 civilians in direct attacks, according to a report last week by the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project, a nonprofit group monitoring war casualties. Sudarsan Raghavan, Washington Post, "Yemeni government, southern separatists sign peace deal," 5 Nov. 2019 That sound is their signal to swarm over the top of the trench wall for another direct, frontal attack on the enemy. Mike Oliver |, al, "Happy birthday to me and mentor who also chronicled his death," 22 Oct. 2019 Some articles even allege that demonstrations in Europe and South America are the direct result of Western tolerance of Hong Kong unrest, now in its 20th week. Ben Westcott, CNN, "West is paying the price for supporting Hong Kong riots: Chinese state media," 21 Oct. 2019 Gonzalez’s nom d’avocat—is only slightly more complicated than using Postmates for take-out guacamole: requests are made by direct message a day in advance, with payment via Venmo or Apple Pay or in cash. Rachel Felder, The New Yorker, "Psst! Wanna Buy an Avocado?," 21 Oct. 2019 Issa, DeMaio and state Sen. Brian Jones steered away from direct attacks on Hunter, whose father held the seat in Congress before him. NBC News, "Local GOP rejects indicted GOP Rep. Duncan Hunter," 15 Oct. 2019 Issa, DeMaio and state Sen. Brian Jones steered away from direct attacks on Hunter, whose father held the seat in Congress before him. Michael R. Blood, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Indicted California congressman argues for another term," 14 Oct. 2019 This is a direct attack on the democratic process, and this should be condemned by everyone. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, "Anti-vaxxer threw human blood on lawmakers, lab tests confirm," 3 Oct. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb The latest comes direct from the world of hand jives, baby. Nick Romano,, "Grease TV musical spin-off Rydell High ordered at HBO Max," 15 Oct. 2019 Currently, Refuse Club is sold direct-to-consumer in the United States, but will soon expand sales to the designers’ native China. Brooke Bobb, Vogue, "Meet the Two Recent Parsons Grads Who Are Challenging China’s Anti-#MeToo Movement With Fashion," 4 Feb. 2019 In our last analysis, 90% of the 1,000 biggest foundations in the country direct less than half of their dollars to benefit underserved communities. Ellen Mcgirt, Fortune, "Leadership Lessons From the VMAs: raceAhead," 27 Aug. 2019 In addition to a Fall 2019 collection that pulls prints direct from Bourgeois’s work, there is a small but mighty collaboration with Bourgeois’s own estate and the Hauser & Wirth art gallery: jewelry! Steff Yotka, Vogue, "Simone Rocha Hosts an Intimate Evening to Celebrate Her Louise Bourgeois Collaboration," 2 May 2019 Add to this, Mercury, the communications maven, promises to go direct that same day — also in Leo., "Minerva’s horoscope for week of July 28," 28 July 2019 Those big volumes that come direct from the street? New York Times, "Suiting Up With Meghan Markle’s Designer," 11 June 2019 The smaller jets were easier to fill and could fly direct to more places around the world without funneling through hubs. Robert Wall, WSJ, "Airports Worried the A380 Was Too Big. Turns Out, That Wasn’t the Problem.," 14 Feb. 2019 Designed by our own Aurich Lawson, our mugs come direct from the Ars Technica Orbiting HQ to your kitchen cupboard, feature spiffy front and back designs, and are dishwasher and microwave safe. Nate Anderson, Ars Technica, "Caffeinate in style with an Ars Technica mug—now cheaper than ever," 12 Oct. 2018

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


14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 4d


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 6


14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for direct

Verb and Adverb

Middle English, from Anglo-French directer, from Latin directus straight, from past participle of dirigere to direct — more at dress


Middle English, from Latin directus — see direct entry 1

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Statistics for direct

Last Updated

27 Oct 2019

Time Traveler for direct

The first known use of direct was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for direct


How to pronounce direct (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of direct

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: to cause (someone or something) to turn, move, or point in a particular way
: to cause (someone's attention, thoughts, emotions, etc.) to relate to a particular person, thing, goal, etc.
: to say (something) to a particular person or group



English Language Learners Definition of direct (Entry 2 of 3)

: going the shortest distance from one place to another : going straight without turning or stopping
: coming straight from a source
: coming straight from a cause or reason : connected or related to something in a clear way



English Language Learners Definition of direct (Entry 3 of 3)

: in a straight line without turning or stopping
: straight from a source with nothing and nobody in between


di·​rect | \ də-ˈrekt How to pronounce direct (audio) , dī-\
directed; directing

Kids Definition of direct

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : to cause to point or move in a particular direction Direct your light over here.
2 : to cause to focus on direct your attention
3 : to show or tell the way Signs directed us to the exit.
4 : to put an address on direct a letter
5 : order entry 1 sense 2, command Bake as directed.
6 : to manage or control the making or activities of direct a play She directs a large company.



Kids Definition of direct (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : going from one point to another without turning or stopping : straight a direct route
2 : coming straight from a cause or source … the skunk … sprayed Brian with a direct shot …— Gary Paulsen, Hatchet
3 : said or done in a clear and honest way a direct answer
4 : being in an unbroken family line a direct ancestor
5 : exact entry 1 a direct translation a direct hit

Other Words from direct

directness noun



Kids Definition of direct (Entry 3 of 3)

: directly sense 1 I flew direct to Paris.

Legal Definition of direct

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : to order with authority the testator directed that the car go to his niece
2 : to order entry of (a verdict) without jury consideration the court directed a verdict in favor of the defendant
3 : to act as director of

intransitive verb

: to act as director



Legal Definition of direct (Entry 2 of 3)

1a : stemming immediately from a source direct costs a direct claim — compare derivative
b : being or passing in a straight line from parent to offspring : lineal a direct ancestor — compare collateral
2 : marked by absence of any intervening agency, instrumentality, or influence direct consequences
3 : effected by the action of the people or the electorate and not by representatives direct democracy
4 : characterized by close logical, causal, or consequential relationship a direct interest in the outcome of the litigation

Other Words from direct

directly adverb



Legal Definition of direct (Entry 3 of 3)

: direct examination testimony given on direct

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More from Merriam-Webster on direct

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for direct

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with direct

Spanish Central: Translation of direct

Nglish: Translation of direct for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of direct for Arabic Speakers

Comments on direct

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


concealed or difficult to comprehend

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