[dih-rek-tuh-ree, -tree, dahy-]
See more synonyms for directory on
noun, plural di·rec·to·ries.
  1. a book containing an alphabetical index of the names and addresses of persons in a city, district, organization, etc., or of a particular category of people.
  2. a board or tablet on a wall of a building listing the room and floor numbers of the occupants.
  3. a book of directions.
  4. Computers.
    1. Also called organizing unit in a computer's file system for storing and locating files. In a hierarchical file system, directories can contain child directories (subdirectories) as well as files.
    2. a description of characteristics of a particular file, as the layout of fields within each record.
  5. the Directory, French History. the body of five directors forming the executive power of France from 1795 to 1799.
  1. serving to direct; directing; directive.

Origin of directory

1400–50; late Middle English < Medieval Latin dīrēctōrium, noun use of Late Latin dīrēctōrius directorial; in def. 5, translation of French Directoire < Medieval Latin, as above Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for directory

Contemporary Examples of directory

Historical Examples of directory

  • The people at Paris, called the Directory, were worried over our condition.

  • Thence to a public library, but could find no satisfactory Schlegel in the directory.

    Howards End

    E. M. Forster

  • If you had called on me between twelve and three, you 'd have found me like a directory.

  • Besides, as anyone who cares may see, the "General Directory," vol.

    End of the Tether

    Joseph Conrad

  • Perhaps the Directory of the county town is the only available volume.

    The Book-Hunter

    John Hill Burton

British Dictionary definitions for directory


noun plural -ries
  1. a book, arranged alphabetically or classified by trade listing names, addresses, telephone numbers, etc, of individuals or firms
  2. a book or manual giving directions
  3. a book containing the rules to be observed in the forms of worship used in churches
  4. a less common word for directorate (def. 2)
  5. computing an area of a disk, Winchester disk, or floppy disk that contains the names and locations of files currently held on that disk
  1. directing


noun the Directory
  1. history the body of five directors in power in France from 1795 until their overthrow by Napoleon in 1799Also known as: the French Directory
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 directory

1540s, "guide, book of rules," from Medieval Latin directorium, noun use of neuter of Latin directorius, from directus (see direct (v.)). Meaning "alphabetical listing of inhabitants of a region" is from 1732; listing of telephone numbers is from 1908. As an adjective, from mid-15c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper