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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from indirect

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

Synonyms & Antonyms for indirect



Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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 But more than a year later, the official toll was updated to 2,975, based on an analysis from George Washington University that factored in the indirect deaths resulting from the storm’s disruptions. Time, "The Difficulty Of Counting the COVID-19 Pandemic’s Full Death Toll," 22 June 2020 This year, the pledge expanded to include some indirect emission sources, such as water consumption and business travel. Lindsey Mcginnis, The Christian Science Monitor, "Points of Progress: Argentina works to combat anti-Semitism, and more," 19 June 2020 Dozens of phone calls and emails made by The Enquirer weren’t returned or were met with indirect responses. Amber Hunt,, "The trouble with Marge: A city grapples with one woman's loathsome legacy and her largesse," 18 June 2020 Turn off burners or arrange coals at sides of grill for indirect cooking. cleveland, "Comfort cooking calls for spicy heat. Find it in these Thai-style grilled ribs," 17 June 2020 Moreover, the French state owns 15% of Renault with double voting rights, giving it indirect sway over the Japanese company. Reed Stevenson,, "Nissan Email Trail Casts New Light on Carlos Ghosn Takedown," 15 June 2020 Philodendrons like bright, indirect (no direct sunlight), and temperatures around 65°F at night and 75°F during the day. oregonlive, "Ask an expert: Conifers in containers need special care," 13 June 2020 Set grill up the for indirect cooking (all coals or burners on one side) and heat to medium-high (350-400 degrees)., "Recipe: Food Shack’s Lucy Cheese-Stuffed Burger," 8 June 2020 The financial institution, which has faced more than its share of consumer-fraud charges since the turn of the century, will stop its indirect auto lending at up to 1100 independent auto dealerships in the United States. Sebastian Blanco, Car and Driver, "Used-Car Buyers Could Suffer as Wells Fargo Cuts Off 1000+ Car Dealers for Loans," 7 June 2020

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about indirect

Time Traveler for indirect

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for indirect

Last Updated

27 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Indirect.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 Jul. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for indirect


How to pronounce indirect (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of indirect

: not going straight from one point to another
: not said or done in a clear and direct way
: not having a clear and direct connection


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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on indirect

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


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

A More Exception(al) Quiz

  • hot dog  hot dog  hot dog  hot dog cat
  • Which of the following words is not a synonym for ‘a young person’?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!