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

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 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 See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The lifeguards in the water rely on colleagues on land to direct them. Pranshu Verma, Washington Post, 6 Aug. 2022 Chloé Zhao is going to direct it, so hopefully there will be more adventures of Starfox and Pip. Jacob Siegal, BGR, 4 Aug. 2022 Commercial air purifiers, like this Coway Airmega AP-1512HH, use HEPA filters in conjunction with powerful fans that quickly suck in air and direct it through the filter. Daniel Varghese, WSJ, 4 Aug. 2022 Select your state or territory, and from there, the website will direct you to an information page with links to your specific state’s voter registration website. Leah Campano, Seventeen, 25 July 2022 The placement of Red’s eyes, which sit lizardlike above ridges on the sides of her head, was in part dictated by a scene in which Maisie and Jacob each perch in front of one of Red’s eyes and direct her where to swim. New York Times, 13 July 2022 Hercules confrontation is coming to the MCU, but only time will tell if Waititi gets the chance to direct it. Zack Sharf, Variety, 11 July 2022 By 1977, Caan, frustrated and unhappy, decided to take the reins and direct himself in Hide in Plain Sight. Jean Vallely, Rolling Stone, 8 July 2022 Your doctor or religious adviser can direct you to one. Abigail Van Buren, oregonlive, 8 July 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Evidence suggests the virus is spread most commonly through direct contact with lesions and respiratory droplets. Megan Molteni, STAT, 7 Aug. 2022 The two men had no direct contact with each other, despite spending two days in the Cambodian capital, Phnom Penh. Keith Zhai, WSJ, 7 Aug. 2022 If pet food has direct contact with the container, fat can separate from food over time which can promote rancidity. Madison Yauger, Peoplemag, 5 Aug. 2022 The primary way monkeypox is transmitted is by direct, skin-to-skin contact with a monkeypox rash. Anastasia Hufham, The Salt Lake Tribune, 5 Aug. 2022 The easiest way to transmit monkeypox is through direct contact with skin lesions. Fortune, 5 Aug. 2022 The virus can also spread through direct contact with objects, fabrics (clothing, bedding, or towels), and other surfaces that have been used by someone with monkeypox; and through respiratory droplets or oral fluids from a person with monkeypox. Dan Mcgowan,, 5 Aug. 2022 The lesions contain high levels of virus, and direct contact with them is a main route of transmission. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, 4 Aug. 2022 Members of the police department's command staff have been in direct contact with the family following the incident, Ciesco said. Meredith Deliso, ABC News, 3 Aug. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb More From Logistics Report Food and beverage companies have also jumped on the direct-selling bandwagon. Akiko Matsuda, WSJ, 6 Aug. 2022 That's a saving from booking those nights direct with the resort, which totaled $514.84. Michael Salerno, The Arizona Republic, 28 July 2022 Then Jupiter enters its yearly retrograde period, reevaluating our beliefs and our confidence before turning direct again on November 23rd. Chicago Tribune, 27 July 2022 When Slaiby left, in 1996, the war was over and Lebanon was in fact dealing with the turmoil that followed; Slaiby traveled to Canada on a visa; and, while arduous, the Cyprus-Germany-Canada route also seems like a cheaper option than flying direct. Myung J. Chun, Los Angeles Times, 25 July 2022 Over at Politico, Jonathan Lemire offers his readers a hallucinatory missive, ordered direct from an alternate universe. Charles C. W. Cooke, National Review, 17 May 2022 Jason and our producer Patrick Markey had been pushing me—really, harassing me!—to direct since Season 1. Nojan Aminosharei, Harper's BAZAAR, 5 May 2022 Federal authorities originally charged Ravenell with racketeering, drug conspiracy and money laundering for allegedly helping direct a multi-state marijuana operation. Lee O. Sanderlin, Baltimore Sun, 2 May 2022 The Republican Party is attacking democracy on many fronts, but none so direct as their assault on voting rights. Patrick Caldwell, The New Republic, 21 Apr. 2022 See More

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.

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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Dictionary Entries Near direct




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Statistics for direct

Last Updated

10 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Direct.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for direct


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.


transitive verb

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

More from Merriam-Webster on direct

Nglish: Translation of direct for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of direct for Arabic Speakers


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