in·​di·​rect | \ ˌin-də-ˈrekt How to pronounce indirect (audio) , -(ˌ)dī- \

Definition of indirect

: not direct: such as
a(1) : deviating from a direct line or course : roundabout
(2) : not going straight to the point an indirect accusation
(3) : being or involving proof of a proposition or theorem by demonstration that its negation leads to an absurdity or contradiction
b : not straightforward and open : deceitful
c : not directly aimed at or achieved indirect consequences
d : stating what a real or supposed original speaker said with changes in wording that conform the statement grammatically to the sentence in which it is included indirect discourse an indirect question
e : not effected by the action of the people or the electorate indirect government representation

Other Words from indirect

indirectly \ ˌin-​də-​ˈrekt-​lē How to pronounce indirect (audio) , -​(ˌ)dī-​ \ adverb
indirectness \ ˌin-​də-​ˈrekt-​nəs How to pronounce indirect (audio) , -​(ˌ)dī-​ \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for indirect



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Examples of indirect in a Sentence

We took an indirect route. These plants grow best in bright indirect light. He gave only vague, indirect answers to our questions. They used indirect methods of investigation. There were many indirect references to his earlier books. Looking at her watch was her indirect way of telling him it was time to leave. Poor nutrition may have been an indirect cause of the disease. The cigarette stubs were indirect evidence that someone had been smoking in the room. “He said that he would call later,” is an example of indirect speech since his actual words were “I'll call later.” an indirect question such as “She asked whether the doctor had arrived” See More
Recent Examples on the Web The study, which takes into account the direct and indirect effects of advertising, found that every dollar spent on advertising in the U.S. in 2020 drove nearly $21 in sales activity. Suzanne Vranica, WSJ, 7 Aug. 2022 Monkeypox can spread through direct or indirect contact with the virus’ painful, distinctive pimplelike rash. Jake Sheridan, Chicago Tribune, 4 Aug. 2022 At a use case level, this alignment could be direct or indirect. Swapnil Srivastava, Forbes, 1 Aug. 2022 Back then, with the housing, commercial, and retail space included, the $284 million project was estimated to create about 2,000 construction jobs and 940 direct and indirect ongoing jobs, the Commerce Corporation said at the time. Brian Amaral,, 1 Aug. 2022 Among its findings is evidence that about half of all mineral diversity is the direct or indirect result of living things and their byproducts. Quanta Magazine, 1 July 2022 The case and others like it being fought across the U.S. are part of a wider global wave of court action focused on the energy industry's direct and indirect contribution to climate change. Alasdair Lane, Fortune, 20 June 2022 Direct and indirect exposure to the horrors of war has reshaped the choices of Ukrainian students across the country. Dominique Soguel, The Christian Science Monitor, 26 May 2022 In the case of humans, monkeypox seemingly spreads through direct or indirect contact with bodily fluids and secretions from wounds and lesions. Zee Krstic, Good Housekeeping, 24 May 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'indirect.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of indirect

14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for indirect

Middle English, from Medieval Latin indirectus, from Latin in- + directus direct — more at dress

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Time Traveler for indirect

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

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Dictionary Entries Near indirect



indirect cost

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Last Updated

15 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Indirect.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for indirect


in·​di·​rect | \ ˌin-də-ˈrekt How to pronounce indirect (audio) , -dī- \

Kids Definition of indirect

1 : not straight or direct an indirect route
2 : not straightforward an indirect answer
3 : not having a plainly seen connection an indirect cause

Other Words from indirect

indirectly adverb
indirectness noun


in·​di·​rect | \ ˌin-də-ˈrekt, -dī- How to pronounce indirect (audio) \

Medical Definition of indirect

1 : not direct: as
a : not resulting directly from an action or cause (as a disease) indirect effects of malaria
b : involving intermediate or intervening parts or pathways stimulation of one eye elicits narrowing of the pupil of the other eye by an indirect reaction indirect attachment of a muscle through tendons
2 : involving or being immunofluorescence in which antibodies of two kinds are used of which the first combine with a specific protein and the second contain a fluorescent label and combine with the antibodies of the first type

Other Words from indirect

indirectly adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on indirect

Nglish: Translation of indirect for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of indirect for Arabic Speakers


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