• synonyms


[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.
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  1. an authoritative instruction or direction; specific order: a new directive by the president on foreign aid.
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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

Related Words

edict, decree, injunction, memo, memorandum, notice, regulation, ruling, mandate, message, order, word, ordinance, communication, charge, dictate, ukase

Examples from the Web for directive

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Finally, he believed that Paul's directive was too detailed.

  • You don't have to wait for a directive, and every one of you can find some improvement that could be made.

    Final Weapon

    Everett B. Cole

  • Life, therefore, cannot be an intelligent or a directive energy.

  • The political function of the nation is both coercive and directive.


    Henry Kalloch Rowe

  • The directive might also include, in some detail, the action to be taken to this end.

    Sound Military Decision

    U.s. Naval War College

British Dictionary definitions for directive


  1. an instruction; order
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  1. tending to direct; directing
  2. indicating direction
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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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper