[dih-rekt, dahy-]
See more synonyms for direct on
verb (used with object)
  1. to manage or guide by advice, helpful information, instruction, etc.: He directed the company through a difficult time.
  2. to regulate the course of; control: History is directed by a small number of great men and women.
  3. to administer; manage; supervise: She directs the affairs of the estate.
  4. to give authoritative instructions to; command; order or ordain: I directed him to leave the room.
  5. to serve as a director in the production or performance of (a musical work, play, motion picture, etc.).
  6. to guide, tell, or show (a person) the way to a place: I directed him to the post office.
  7. to point, aim, or send toward a place or object: to direct radio waves around the globe.
  8. to channel or focus toward a given result, object, or end (often followed by to or toward): She directed all her energies toward the accomplishment of the work.
  9. to address (words, a speech, a written report, etc.) to a person or persons: The secretary directed his remarks to two of the committee members.
  10. to address (a letter, package, etc.) to an intended recipient.
verb (used without object)
  1. to act as a guide.
  2. to give commands or orders.
  3. to serve as the director of a play, film, orchestra, etc.
  1. proceeding in a straight line or by the shortest course; straight; undeviating; not oblique: a direct route.
  2. proceeding in an unbroken line of descent; lineal rather than collateral: a direct descendant.
  3. Mathematics.
    1. (of a proportion) containing terms of which an increase (or decrease) in one results in an increase (or decrease) in another: a term is said to be in direct proportion to another term if one increases (or decreases) as the other increases (or decreases).
    2. (of a function) the function itself, in contrast to its inverse.Compare inverse(def 2).
  4. without intervening persons, influences, factors, etc.; immediate; personal: direct contact with the voters; direct exposure to a disease.
  5. straightforward; frank; candid: the direct remarks of a forthright individual.
  6. absolute; exact: the direct opposite.
  7. consisting exactly of the words originally used; verbatim: direct quotation.
  8. Government. of or by action of voters, which takes effect without representatives or another intervening agency, as in direct democracy.
  9. inevitable; consequential: War will be a direct result of such political action.
  10. allocated for or arising from a particular known agency, process, job, etc.: The new machine was listed by the accountant as a direct cost.
  11. Electricity. of or relating to direct current.
  12. Astronomy.
    1. moving in an orbit in the same direction as the earth in its revolution around the sun.
    2. appearing to move on the celestial sphere in the direction of the natural order of the signs of the zodiac, from west to east.Compare retrograde(def 4).
  13. Surveying. (of a telescope) in its normal position; not inverted or transited.
  14. (of dye colors) working without the use of a mordant; substantive.
  1. in a direct manner; directly; straight: Answer me direct.

Origin of direct

1325–75; Middle English direct (adj., adv.), directen (v.) (< Anglo-French) < Latin dīrēctus, dērēctus (the latter probably the orig. form, later reanalyzed as dī- di-2), past participle of dērigere to align, straighten, guide (dē- de- + -rigere, combining form of regere to guide, rule)
Related formsdi·rect·a·ble, adjectivedi·rect·ness, nounpre·di·rect, verb (used with object)self-di·rect·ing, adjectivesem·i·di·rect, adjectivesem·i·di·rect·ness, noun

Synonyms for direct

See more synonyms for on

Synonym study

1. See guide. 4. Direct, order, command mean to issue instructions. Direct suggests also giving explanations or advice; the emphasis is not on the authority of the director, but on steps necessary for the accomplishing of a purpose. Order connotes a personal relationship in which one in a superior position imperatively instructs a subordinate to do something. Command, less personal and, often, less specific in detail, suggests greater formality and, sometimes, a more fixed authority on the part of the superior. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for directing

Contemporary Examples of directing

Historical Examples of directing

  • The easier task, that of directing the machine, is left to the husband.'

  • Shall he have the pleasure of directing the messenger to ask if there are any letters for you?'

    Little Dorrit

    Charles Dickens

  • The latter took the despatch, and opened it, directing Jenkins to sign the paper.

    The Channings

    Mrs. Henry Wood

  • The mate had been directing the firing in this extreme necessity.

  • An elderly lady was playing the violin and directing her steps.

    A Singer from the Sea

    Amelia Edith Huddleston Barr

British Dictionary definitions for directing


verb (mainly tr)
  1. to regulate, conduct, or control the affairs of
  2. (also intr) to give commands or orders with authority to (a person or group)he directed them to go away
  3. to tell or show (someone) the way to a place
  4. to aim, point, or cause to move towards a goal
  5. to address (a letter, parcel, etc)
  6. to address (remarks, words, etc)to direct comments at someone
  7. (also intr) to provide guidance to (actors, cameramen, etc) in the rehearsal of a play or the filming of a motion picture
  8. (also intr)
    1. to conduct (a piece of music or musicians), usually while performing oneself
    2. another word (esp US) for conduct (def. 9)
  1. without delay or evasion; straightforwarda direct approach
  2. without turning aside; uninterrupted; shortest; straighta direct route
  3. without intervening persons or agencies; immediatea direct link
  4. honest; frank; candida direct answer
  5. (usually prenominal) precise; exacta direct quotation
  6. diametricalthe direct opposite
  7. in an unbroken line of descent, as from father to son over succeeding generationsa direct descendant
  8. (of government, decisions, etc) by or from the electorate rather than through representatives
  9. logic maths (of a proof) progressing from the premises to the conclusion, rather than eliminating the possibility of the falsehood of the conclusionCompare indirect proof
  10. astronomy moving from west to east on the celestial sphereCompare retrograde (def. 4a)
    1. of or relating to direct current
    2. (of a secondary induced current) having the same direction as the primary current
  11. music
    1. (of motion) in the same directionSee motion (def. 9)
    2. (of an interval or chord) in root position; not inverted
  1. directly; straighthe went direct to the office
Derived Formsdirectness, noun

Word Origin for direct

C14: from Latin dīrectus; from dīrigere to guide, from dis- apart + regere to rule
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 directing



late 14c., from Latin directus "straight," past participle of dirigere "set straight" (see direct (v.)).



late 14c., "to write (to someone), to address," from Latin directus "straight," past participle of dirigere "set straight," from dis- "apart" (see dis-) + regere "to guide" (see regal). Cf. dress; address.

Meaning "to govern, regulate" is from c.1500; "to order, ordain" is from 1650s. Sense of "to write the destination on the outside of a letter" is from 16c. Of plays, films, etc., from 1913. Related: Directed; directing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper