[dih-rek-tiv, dahy-]


serving to direct; directing: a directive board.
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.


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 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for directive

Contemporary Examples of directive

Historical Examples of directive

  • 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



an instruction; order


tending to direct; directing
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