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 Signs will direct drivers to the detour route on Southeast Second Street, one block south of the Historic Highway. oregonlive, "Portland Monday traffic: East side MAX Blue Line track work delays riders through Friday," 3 May 2021 Giovanni Fumu will direct the movie, and Kimbo Kim is a producer. Brooks Johnson, Star Tribune, "Another movie shoot coming to Minnesota's North Shore," 29 Apr. 2021 As for the new adaptation, Martyna Majok will write the book, and Rebecca Frecknall will direct. Los Angeles Times, "‘Great Gatsby’ musical gets a green light with Florence Welch," 28 Apr. 2021 Rebecca Frecknall will direct the show while Jeanie O’Hare will serve as the story consultant. Jon Blistein, Rolling Stone, "Florence Welch Tapped to Write Music for New ‘Great Gatsby’ Musical," 28 Apr. 2021 The smart code will direct readers to the retailers' websites. Colleen Murphy,, "COVID Vaccine Rates Are Down—Here’s How PEOPLE’s New Initiative With CVS Health and Walmart Might Help," 28 Apr. 2021 Zukerman will direct and play in chamber orchestra concerts with DSO musicians, appear as violin soloist with the orchestra and join DSO musicians in chamber music performances. Scott Cantrell, Dallas News, "Dallas Symphony names Pinchas Zukerman to new artistic/education position," 23 Apr. 2021 In total, the budget bill will direct an astronomical $1.9 billion new dollars toward K-12 schools over the biennium, more than twice as much as originally proposed in earlier budget drafts. Kaitlin Lange, The Indianapolis Star, "In rare bipartisan unity, lawmakers pass state budget with robust K-12 spending," 22 Apr. 2021 Summer Sprout will direct the garden build, and students, parents and teachers will help out. Cameron Fields, cleveland, "NFL Draft to host plethora of community events in Cleveland: See the list," 21 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective So the coolest businesses of the future will be direct to consumers. Rolling Stone Culture Council, Rolling Stone, "Seven Ways Business Leaders Can Boost Transparency With Their Customers," 4 May 2021 Just like Mission Control in Houston, the POIC is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week and has direct contact with the station. Lee Roop |, al, "Alabama now has 20 years of talking astronauts on International Space Station through science," 28 Apr. 2021 By Dianna Booher— One positive benefit of the Pandemic that some may have overlooked: Working remotely may have put you out of direct day-to-day contact with a bully. Womensmedia, Forbes, "How To Respond To Bullies And Insults At Work," 27 Apr. 2021 There's also a rare form of contact dermatitis that doesn't require direct contact with the skin to cause a flare, Dr. Brar says. Maggie O'neill,, "3 Common Allergy Rashes—and What They Look Like," 27 Apr. 2021 The two women have not been in direct contact since. Irina Ivanova, CBS News, "Memphis faces eviction crisis after court strikes down federal ban," 23 Apr. 2021 The part in direct contact with your skin is made of stainless steel instead of the Reon Pocket’s silicon. Chris Smith, BGR, "Sony’s wearable air conditioner makes more sense than ever," 22 Apr. 2021 Workplaces that might fall into that category are those that have direct contact with the general public (such as grocery stores), healthcare settings (hospitals) and ones where jobs are performed in close quarters with others (factories). Melody Petersen Staff Writer, Los Angeles Times, "Coronavirus Today: Long live rock ‘n’ roll!," 20 Apr. 2021 These animals do not have direct contact with guests and have always been separated from them by acrylic barriers, the aquarium said. Rachel Trent, CNN, "Otters at Georgia Aquarium test positive for coronavirus," 19 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb Those who are not vaccinated can only fly direct from certain countries and must have a negative coronavirus test within 72 hours, as well as a second test on the third day of their stay. Hannah Sampson, Star Tribune, "Seven European countries that Americans can travel to right now," 30 Apr. 2021 Creators now have the power to cut brands and advertising agencies out of the picture and go direct to community. Kian Bakhtiari, Forbes, "The Creator Economy, NFTs And Marketing," 18 Apr. 2021 For starters, Coinbase management has chosen a direct-listing. Bernhard Warner, Fortune, "It’s crypto bulls versus Wall Street as Coinbase shares get set to trade," 14 Apr. 2021 France’s Michelin, one of the world’s largest tire makers, is skirting port congestion by using air freight shipments direct from Asia., "Rubber scarcity creates new headache for beleaguered automakers," 13 Apr. 2021 But foreigners can still fly direct from Munich or Bordeaux to beach resorts or cultural wonders in Spain, while Spaniards can’t travel across regions in the country to their second homes or visit relatives. Amina Khan Staff Writer, Los Angeles Times, "Coronavirus Today: The vaccination effort’s boots on the ground," 31 Mar. 2021 Still, foreigners like Mr. Hoffman or Ms. Karel can fly direct from Munich or Bordeaux to beach resorts or cultural wonders in Spain, while Spaniards can’t travel across regions in the country to their second homes or visit relatives. Aritz Parra, The Christian Science Monitor, "In Europe, revelers flock to restriction-free Madrid," 30 Mar. 2021 For people who file electronically and elect to have their refund direct-deposited into their bank account, most refunds are being issued within 21 days, according to the IRS. Washington Post, "If you’re in line for a stimulus payment, here’s why you shouldn’t wait to file your taxes on May 17," 19 Mar. 2021 The stock, which was direct listed on the NYSE this morning, closed at $69.47, 54% above its reference price of $45. Alex Knapp, Forbes, "Billionaire Dave Baszucki’s Wealth Soars To $4.2 Billion As Roblox Hits The Stock Market," 10 Mar. 2021

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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Time Traveler for direct

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for direct

Last Updated

6 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Direct.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 12 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for direct



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

Comments on direct

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