[ dih-rekt, dahy- ]
See synonyms for: directdirecteddirectingdirects 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.

  1. to administer; manage; supervise: She directs the affairs of the estate.

  2. to give authoritative instructions to; command; order or ordain: I directed him to leave the room.

  3. to serve as a director in the production or performance of (a musical work, play, motion picture, etc.).

  4. to guide, tell, or show (a person) the way to a place: I directed him to the post office.

  5. to point, aim, or send toward a place or object: to direct radio waves around the globe.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. Mathematics.

    • (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).

    • (of a function) the function itself, in contrast to its inverse.: Compare inverse (def. 2).

  2. without intervening persons, influences, factors, etc.; immediate; personal: direct contact with the voters; direct exposure to a disease.

  3. straightforward; frank; candid: the direct remarks of a forthright individual.

  4. absolute; total; exact: the direct opposite.

  5. consisting exactly of the words originally used; verbatim: direct quotation.

  6. Government. of or by action of voters, which takes effect without representatives or another intervening agency, as in direct democracy.

  7. inevitable; consequential: War will be a direct result of such political action.

  8. allocated for or arising from a particular known agency, process, job, etc.: The new machine was listed by the accountant as a direct cost.

  9. Electricity. of or relating to direct current.

  10. Astronomy.

    • moving in an orbit in the same direction as the earth in its revolution around the sun.

    • 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).

  11. Surveying. (of a telescope) in its normal position; not inverted or transited.

  12. (of dye colors) working without the use of a mordant; substantive.

  1. in a direct manner; directly; straight: Answer me direct.

Origin of direct

First recorded in 1325–75; Middle English directen (verb) (from Anglo-French ), from Latin dīrēctus, past participle of dīrigere “to align, straighten, guide” (equivalent to dis-, dī- + -rigere, combining form of regere “to guide, rule”); see origin at di-2

synonym study For direct

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.

Other words for direct

Other words from direct

  • di·rect·a·ble, adjective
  • di·rect·ness, noun
  • pre·di·rect, verb (used with object)
  • self-di·rect·ing, adjective
  • sem·i·di·rect, adjective
  • sem·i·di·rect·ness, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use direct in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for direct


/ (dɪˈrɛkt, daɪ-) /

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

  1. to tell or show (someone) the way to a place

  2. to aim, point, or cause to move towards a goal

  3. to address (a letter, parcel, etc)

  4. to address (remarks, words, etc): to direct comments at someone

  5. (also intr) to provide guidance to (actors, cameramen, etc) in the rehearsal of a play or the filming of a motion picture

  6. (also intr)

    • to conduct (a piece of music or musicians), usually while performing oneself

    • another word (esp US) for conduct (def. 9)

  1. without delay or evasion; straightforward: a direct approach

  2. without turning aside; uninterrupted; shortest; straight: a direct route

  1. without intervening persons or agencies; immediate: a direct link

  2. honest; frank; candid: a direct answer

  3. (usually prenominal) precise; exact: a direct quotation

  4. diametrical: the direct opposite

  5. in an unbroken line of descent, as from father to son over succeeding generations: a direct descendant

  6. (of government, decisions, etc) by or from the electorate rather than through representatives

  7. logic maths (of a proof) progressing from the premises to the conclusion, rather than eliminating the possibility of the falsehood of the conclusion: Compare indirect proof

  8. astronomy moving from west to east on the celestial sphere: Compare retrograde (def. 4a)

    • of or relating to direct current

    • (of a secondary induced current) having the same direction as the primary current

  9. music

    • (of motion) in the same direction: See motion (def. 9)

    • (of an interval or chord) in root position; not inverted

  1. directly; straight: he went direct to the office

Origin of direct

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

Derived forms of direct

  • directness, noun

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