di·​rec·​to·​ry | \ də-ˈrek-t(ə-)rē How to pronounce directory (audio) , dī- \

Definition of directory

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: serving to direct specifically : providing advisory but not compulsory guidance


plural directories

Definition of directory (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : a book or collection of directions, rules, or ordinances
b : an alphabetical or classified list (as of names and addresses)
2 : a body of directors

Examples of directory in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun South Asian Mental Health: The organization offers a directory of South Asian therapists for anyone who wants to work with a professional mental health practitioner. Melissa Matthews, SELF, 5 Oct. 2021 For those looking to get into the game, here’s a directory of the companies, executives and entrepreneurs in key markets. Steve Knopper, Billboard, 23 Sep. 2021 The staff pharmacist fails to check in the physician directory, and fills the prescription. Michael I. Krauss, WSJ, 1 Oct. 2021 One caveat: If a massage therapist has not been disciplined — but only warned about behavior in an advisory letter — that won't be noted next to his or her name in the online therapist directory. Anne Ryman, The Arizona Republic, 15 Sep. 2021 He has been listed in the student directory since mid-June. Nathan Baird, cleveland, 10 Sep. 2021 In the Michigan community directory and on the athletic department’s website, Ryan Osborn is listed as an analyst. Rainer Sabin, Detroit Free Press, 5 Apr. 2021 Preservation Massachusetts maintains a directory of consultants, contractors, and tradespeople who specialize in historic homes throughout the region., 19 Sep. 2021 Other procedures that could have mitigated the loss, Toregas said, include aggressively managing the directory of people who have access to the data and segmenting data so large swaths can’t be affected at once. Michael Williams, Dallas News, 16 Sep. 2021

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


15th century, in the meaning defined above


1543, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for directory


Middle English directorie guide, from Medieval Latin directorium, from neuter of Late Latin directorius directorial, from Latin dirigere

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Time Traveler for directory

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The first known use of directory was in the 15th century

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Dictionary Entries Near directory

director of photography


directory assistance

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Cite this Entry

“Directory.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Oct. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of directory

: a book that contains an alphabetical list of names of people, businesses, etc. especially : phone book


di·​rec·​to·​ry | \ də-ˈrek-tə-rē How to pronounce directory (audio) , dī- \
plural directories

Kids Definition of directory

: a book containing an alphabetical list of names, addresses, and telephone numbers


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