indirect object

noun
: a noun, pronoun, or noun phrase that occurs in addition to a direct object after some verbs and indicates the person or thing that receives what is being given or done : the person or thing that the action of a verb is performed for or directed to
  • In the sentences "She bought him a present," "He gave all four walls a new coat of paint," and "Ask me a question," "him," "all four walls," and "me" are indirect objects and "a present," "a new coat of paint," and "a question" are direct objects.
Note: Verbs that can take indirect objects are called ditransitive verbs.

Examples of indirect object in a Sentence

  1. In “He gave me the book,” the direct object is “book” and the indirect object is “me.”

Recent Examples of indirect object from the Web

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

First Known Use of indirect object

1879

in the meaning defined above

See Words from the same year
NEW! Time Traveler

INDIRECT OBJECT Defined for English Language Learners

indirect object

  • grammar : a noun, pronoun, or noun phrase that occurs in addition to a direct object after some verbs and indicates the person or thing that receives what is being given or done


INDIRECT OBJECT Defined for Kids

indirect object

noun
: an object that represents the person or thing that receives what is being given or done
  • The word “me” in “you gave me the book” is an indirect object.

Seen and Heard

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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

WORD OF THE DAY

to pay off by making regular payments

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a-closeup-of-a-sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Add Diction

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

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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