in·​di·​rec·​tion | \ ˌin-də-ˈrek-shən How to pronounce indirection (audio) , -(ˌ)dī- \

Definition of indirection

1a : indirect action or procedure
b : lack of direction : aimlessness
2a : lack of straightforwardness and openness : deceitfulness
b : something (such as an act or statement) marked by lack of straightforwardness hated diplomatic indirectionsRev. of Reviews

Examples of indirection in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The letter is included in the report and is an exquisite piece of clerical indirection and equivocation. Paul Elie, The New Yorker, 20 Nov. 2020 The nearly plotless story snares us through indirection to produce a pleasingly dark collage. Claude Peck, Star Tribune, 23 Oct. 2020 Multiple layers of obfuscation and indirection are standard in this criminal realm. Rahul Kashyap, Quartz, 15 Jan. 2020 In fairness, elaboration could detract from Magid’s mode of storytelling, which relies a lot on indirection and leaving things unsaid. Mark Feeney,, 26 June 2019 This is, of course, an indirect evocation of Donald Trump in a movie that doesn’t have much truck with indirection. Joe Morgenstern, WSJ, 9 Aug. 2018 His essence has been captured by indirection, via a gigantic lifetime write-around. Tom Zoellner, New York Times, 1 June 2018 Unlike Shakespeare, Greenblatt does not choose a strategy of indirection. Glenn C. Althschuler,, 18 May 2018 The show loves to lampoon moral inconsistencies of Victorian England with Python-like indirection. Hugh Hunter,, 4 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'indirection.' 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 indirection

1590, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More About indirection

Time Traveler for indirection

Time Traveler

The first known use of indirection was in 1590

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near indirection

indirect initiative


indirect labor

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for indirection

Cite this Entry

“Indirection.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Sep. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More from Merriam-Webster on indirection

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for indirection


Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

 AlphaBear 2

Spell words. Make bears.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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