indirect object


Definition of indirect object

: 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

In “He gave me the book,” the direct object is “book” and the indirect object is “me.”
Recent Examples on the Web Four different cases in Old English tell you whether a word is a subject, direct object, indirect object or possessor. The Economist, 1 Mar. 2018

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

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Time Traveler for indirect object

Time Traveler

The first known use of indirect object was in 1879

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Dictionary Entries Near indirect object

indirect method of difference

indirect object

indirect process

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Cite this Entry

“Indirect object.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for indirect object

indirect object


Kids Definition of indirect object

: 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.


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