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[dih-rek-tiv, dahy-]
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  1. serving to direct; directing: a directive board.
  2. Psychology. pertaining to a type of psychotherapy in which the therapist actively offers advice and information rather than dealing only with information supplied by the patient.
  1. an authoritative instruction or direction; specific order: a new directive by the president on foreign aid.

Origin of directive

First recorded in 1425–75; late Middle English word from Medieval Latin word dīrēctīvus. See direct, -ive
Related formsself-di·rec·tive, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for directive


  1. an instruction; order
  1. tending to direct; directing
  2. indicating direction
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for directive


mid-15c., from Medieval Latin directivus, from past participle stem of Latin dirigere (see direct (v.)). From 1640s as a noun.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

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