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

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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



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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”
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Recent Examples on the Web The measure will create 37,500 direct and indirect jobs, which will be needed for our economic recovery. oregonlive, "Metro Council races: Battle for North, Northeast Portland seat may be most competitive in a decade," 30 Apr. 2020 Sales, in the case of the Indians, would roughly translate to combined direct, indirect and induced spending, said Jim Robey, an economist who conducted the study. Peter Krouse, cleveland, "Cavaliers, Indians, Playhouse Square and others create massive economic ripple threatened by the coronavirus," 17 Apr. 2020 Each will absorb and reflect light differently, and that effect will be multiplied by every direct and indirect ray of light that Minecraft RTX Beta models. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "The biggest ray-traced game yet: Minecraft RTX Beta debuts April 16 on PC," 14 Apr. 2020 Joe Biden took an indirect jab at Bernie Sanders by stressing the importance of transgender rights amid backlash to the Sanders campaign touting support from comedian and podcast host Joe Rogan. Emily Larsen, Washington Examiner, "'Transgender equality is the civil rights issue of our time': Biden capitalizes on Bernie Sanders-Joe Rogan blowback," 25 Jan. 2020 After briefly recounting the actual tale of the actual Pocahontas, Warren offered this indirect jab: Indigenous people have been telling the story of Pocahontas — the real Pocahontas — for four centuries. Ed Kilgore, Daily Intelligencer, "Warren Fights Back Against Trump’s ‘Pocahontas’ Slur," 15 Feb. 2018 Public health officials still don’t know whether direct contact, indirect contact through surfaces, or aerosols are the main pathway of transmission for the coronavirus. The Conversation, oregonlive, "Here’s the science of coronavirus’ infectious aerosols, and how masks can help block them," 24 Apr. 2020 People who have the means to make their payment may be willing to attest to indirect hardship, but surely the number would become a mere fraction of present levels if actual demonstration of hardship was required. David L. Bahnsen, National Review, "The Mortgage Forbearance in the CARES Act Is Seriously Flawed," 23 Apr. 2020 Other regions, including Franklin County, have been experiencing overdose death spikes, too, with addiction experts surmising that the novel coronavirus pandemic could be an indirect cause of the resurgence. Terry Demio,, "Hamilton County overdose death spike prompts alert. Officials say surge may be side effect of COVID-19," 23 Apr. 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.

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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

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Time Traveler for indirect

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for indirect

Last Updated

14 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Indirect.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 May. 2020.

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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

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Comments on indirect

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