di·​rect | \ də-ˈrekt How to pronounce direct (audio) , dī- \
directed; directing; directs

Definition of direct

 (Entry 1 of 3)

transitive verb

1 : to cause to turn, move, or point undeviatingly or to follow a straight course X-rays directed through the body
2 : to point, extend, or project in a specified line or course direct the nozzle downward
3a : to regulate the activities or course of directs a staff of over 200 employees
b : to carry out the organizing, energizing, and supervising of direct a project directed a call center
c : to train and lead performances of direct a movie directing a famous actor
d : to dominate and determine the course of … will not find it preposterous that the past should be altered by the present as much as the present is directed by the past.— T. S. Eliot
4a : to impart orally directed the remark to her fellow senators
b : to mark with the name and address of the intended recipient
c : to adapt in expression so as to have particular applicability arguments directed at the emotions
d obsolete : to write (a letter) to a person
5 : to show or point out the way for signs directing us to the entrance
6 : to request or enjoin (see enjoin sense 1) with authority the judge directed the jury to acquit

intransitive verb

1 : to act as director of a show or musical ensemble She both acted and directed in the film.
2 : to point out, prescribe, or determine a course or procedure



Definition of direct (Entry 2 of 3)

1a : proceeding from one point to another in time or space without deviation or interruption : straight a direct line
b : proceeding by the shortest way the direct route
2a : stemming immediately from a source direct result
b : being or passing in a straight line of descent from parent to offspring : lineal direct ancestor
c : having no compromising or impairing element a direct insult
3 : natural, straightforward a direct manner asked him to be more direct was direct in her criticism
4a : marked by absence of an intervening agency, instrumentality, or influence making direct observations of nature
b : effected or brought about by the action of the people or the electorate and not by representatives direct democracy
c : consisting of or reproducing the exact words of a speaker or writer a direct quotation
5 : characterized by close logical, causal, or consequential relationship direct evidence
6 astronomy : having or being motion in the general planetary direction from west to east : not retrograde (see retrograde entry 1 sense 1a(1))
7 : capable of dyeing without the aid of a mordant



Definition of direct (Entry 3 of 3)

: in a direct (see direct entry 2) way: such as
a : from point to point without deviation : by the shortest way flew direct to Miami
b : from the source without interruption or diversion (see diversion sense 1) the writer must take his material direct from life— Douglas Stewart
c : without an intervening agency (see agency sense 3) or step buy direct from the manufacturer

Synonyms & Antonyms for direct

Synonyms: Verb

Synonyms: Adjective

Synonyms: Adverb

Antonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Adverb

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Choose the Right Synonym for direct


command, order, bid, enjoin, direct, instruct, charge mean to issue orders. command and order imply authority and usually some degree of formality and impersonality. command stresses official exercise of authority. a general commanding troops order may suggest peremptory or arbitrary exercise. ordered his employees about bid suggests giving orders peremptorily (as to children or servants). she bade him be seated enjoin implies giving an order or direction authoritatively and urgently and often with admonition or solicitude. a sign enjoining patrons to be quiet direct and instruct both connote expectation of obedience and usually concern specific points of procedure or method, instruct sometimes implying greater explicitness or formality. directed her assistant to hold all calls the judge instructed the jury to ignore the remark charge adds to enjoin an implication of imposing as a duty or responsibility. charged by the President with a secret mission

conduct, manage, control, direct mean to use one's powers to lead, guide, or dominate. conduct implies taking responsibility for the acts and achievements of a group. conducted negotiations manage implies direct handling and manipulating or maneuvering toward a desired result. manages a meat market control implies a regulating or restraining in order to keep within bounds or on a course. controlling his appetite direct implies constant guiding and regulating so as to achieve smooth operation. directs the store's day-to-day business

Examples of direct in a Sentence

Verb Be sure that the water nozzle is directed downward. The sloping ground helps direct water away from the home. Let me direct your attention to the book's second chapter. We were asked to direct our thoughts and prayers to the people who survived the disaster. The students directed their efforts toward improving their community. A lot of the criticism has been directed toward the concert's organizers. He is responsible for directing the activities of the sales team. In my current position, I direct a staff of over 200 employees. We need someone to direct traffic. Adjective I found a more direct route to the city. That way is more direct. Keep these plants out of direct sunlight. The coastline was exposed to the direct force of the hurricane. The weather had a direct effect on our plans. There's a direct connection between the two events. The investigation began in direct response to the newspaper story. Adverb It costs less if you buy it direct from the manufacturer. flew direct to the coast See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Under the Defense Production Act, Biden could direct chip manufacturers to prioritize the delivery of their products to companies like Carrier and Trane that make heat pumps. Anna Phillips,, 20 June 2022 According to Deadline, Victoria Mahoney has been tapped to direct the sequel, with Prince-Bythewood staying on as a producer. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, 19 June 2022 The legislation for now does not direct the tax revenue anywhere but the general fund, but Beyer says other considerations, such as putting the money toward gun violence prevention or helping victims, could come later. Meagan Flynn, Washington Post, 14 June 2022 Award-winning commercials filmmaker Dougal Wilson has been tapped to direct the latest installment of the hit family film franchise from StudioCanal and Heyday Films, titled Paddington in Peru. Mia Galuppo, The Hollywood Reporter, 13 June 2022 The court did not direct any changes to voting by individuals who are not visually impaired. Iris Samuels, Anchorage Daily News, 11 June 2022 Stefanski will direct the Browns during their full-squad minicamp Tuesday through Thursday when all – save for excused quarterback Baker Mayfield, who is awaiting a trade – are required to be present. Marla Ridenour, USA TODAY, 9 June 2022 Separately, in a decision that could affect more viewers, the Fox broadcast network will not direct its affiliates, which reach many millions more homes than Fox News, to show the hearing. New York Times, 7 June 2022 Tim Burton will also executive produce and direct the majority of episodes, with Gandja Monteiro and James Marshall serving as additional directors. Wilson Chapman, Variety, 6 June 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Grind’s business model pivoted in the midst of the COVID-19 lockdown to become a direct-to-consumer, sustainable coffee seller. Catherine Erdly, Forbes, 21 June 2022 In 2018, Beijing issued a tax exemption for Chinese direct-to-consumer exports to defend them against the Trump administration’s tariffs—another measure that insulates Shein’s bottom line. Yvonne Lau, Fortune, 20 June 2022 The markets were selected because Sinclair owns direct-to-consumer rights for those five. Jr Radcliffe, Journal Sentinel, 20 June 2022 This model involves a mix of platforms and partnerships, combining direct-to-consumer and a la carte offerings with a market-by-market approach. Nick Vivarelli, Variety, 20 June 2022 Saatva is an e-commerce company, the parent of Loom & Leaf and Zenhaven, two other big names in direct-to-consumer bedding. Patricia Marx, The New Yorker, 20 June 2022 But that could change in the long run, particularly given the growth of direct-to-consumer neurotechnologies. Kasra Zarei, STAT, 18 June 2022 Lug already had an advantage going into the pandemic with its primarily direct-to-consumer sales model. Parija Kavilanz, CNN, 18 June 2022 For now, Rhode is available direct to consumer, in part so Bieber and her team can get a feel for what resonates with her customers. Lindy Segal, Harper's BAZAAR, 15 June 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb The recall is not listed on the Food and Drug Administration's recall website, presumably because the product is sold direct to customers instead of through grocery stores. Jayme Deerwester, USA TODAY, 22 June 2022 In addition to government contracts, firms are quickly jumping to serve 24-hour testing needs sold direct to consumers, too. Tiffany Ap, Quartz, 9 June 2022 Then they’re delivered direct to the consumers from a cold storage facility in National City. San Diego Union-Tribune, 5 June 2022 Morris departed the project over creative differences, the movie ended up going direct to video and studios lost interest, considering the novels’ Native lead characters to be uncommercial. Rebecca Keegan, The Hollywood Reporter, 1 June 2022 Until Wall Street values the incumbent automakers like it does TESLA, financial realities make selling direct to consumers unlikely. Remember Saturn? Jeremy Alicandri, Forbes, 26 Apr. 2022 Gerald Plummer logged into his bank account last week expecting to find his stimulus check had been direct deposited. Lee Clifford, Fortune, 20 Apr. 2020 They are not accustomed to selling direct to consumers and they are built to market to consumers who walk up and down aisles. Richard Kestenbaum, Forbes, 13 Apr. 2022 Thanks to discerning Mercury moving direct in your sign, your attitude matters! Tarot Astrologers,, 3 Feb. 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of direct


14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 4d


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 6


14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for direct

Verb and Adverb

Middle English, from Anglo-French directer, from Latin directus straight, from past participle of dirigere to direct — more at dress


Middle English, from Latin directus — see direct entry 1

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Time Traveler for direct

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near direct




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Statistics for direct

Last Updated

23 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Direct.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Jun. 2022.

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More Definitions for direct


di·​rect | \ də-ˈrekt How to pronounce direct (audio) , dī- \
directed; directing

Kids Definition of direct

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : to cause to point or move in a particular direction Direct your light over here.
2 : to cause to focus on direct your attention
3 : to show or tell the way Signs directed us to the exit.
4 : to put an address on direct a letter
5 : order entry 1 sense 2, command Bake as directed.
6 : to manage or control the making or activities of direct a play She directs a large company.



Kids Definition of direct (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : going from one point to another without turning or stopping : straight a direct route
2 : coming straight from a cause or source … the skunk … sprayed Brian with a direct shot …— Gary Paulsen, Hatchet
3 : said or done in a clear and honest way a direct answer
4 : being in an unbroken family line a direct ancestor
5 : exact entry 1 a direct translation a direct hit

Other Words from direct

directness noun



Kids Definition of direct (Entry 3 of 3)

: directly sense 1 I flew direct to Paris.


transitive verb

Legal Definition of direct

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : to order with authority the testator directed that the car go to his niece
2 : to order entry of (a verdict) without jury consideration the court directed a verdict in favor of the defendant
3 : to act as director of

intransitive verb

: to act as director



Legal Definition of direct (Entry 2 of 3)

1a : stemming immediately from a source direct costs a direct claim — compare derivative
b : being or passing in a straight line from parent to offspring : lineal a direct ancestor — compare collateral
2 : marked by absence of any intervening agency, instrumentality, or influence direct consequences
3 : effected by the action of the people or the electorate and not by representatives direct democracy
4 : characterized by close logical, causal, or consequential relationship a direct interest in the outcome of the litigation

Other Words from direct

directly adverb



Legal Definition of direct (Entry 3 of 3)

: direct examination testimony given on direct

More from Merriam-Webster on direct

Nglish: Translation of direct for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of direct for Arabic Speakers


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