in·​di·​rec·​tion ˌin-də-ˈrek-shən How to pronounce indirection (audio)
: indirect action or procedure
: lack of direction : aimlessness
: lack of straightforwardness and openness : deceitfulness
: something (such as an act or statement) marked by lack of straightforwardness
hated diplomatic indirectionsRev. of Reviews

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web Axios-ese strikes me as particularly unsuited to corporate communication, which for better or worse is packed deliberately with euphemism and indirection and exaggerated diplomacy. Timothy Noah, The New Republic, 26 Sep. 2022 Dutiful sons often revere their fathers for their instruction in the ways of the world—by direction and indirection, sterling example and train wreck. Edward Kosner, WSJ, 5 May 2022 This might suggest that a truer study of the psyche and its place in the world could be conducted via indirection or obliquity. Matthew Bevis, Harper’s Magazine , 16 Feb. 2022 Antrim’s writing here is brilliant in its indirection and compression. David L. Ulin, Los Angeles Times, 11 Oct. 2021 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 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'indirection.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1590, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of indirection was in 1590

Dictionary Entries Near indirection

Cite this Entry

“Indirection.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Mar. 2023.

More from Merriam-Webster on indirection

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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

Challenging Standardized Test Words, Vol. 2

  • a pencil broken in half on top of a test answer sheet
  • The business’s new computer system proved not to be a panacea.
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Solve today's spelling word game by finding as many words as you can with using just 7 letters. Longer words score more points.

Can you make 12 words with 7 letters?