[ in-duh-rekt, -dahy- ]
See synonyms for: indirectindirectlyindirectness on

  1. not in a direct course or path; deviating from a straight line; roundabout: an indirect course in sailing.

  2. coming or resulting otherwise than directly or immediately, as effects or consequences: an indirect advantage.

  1. not direct in action or procedure: His methods are indirect but not dishonest.

  2. not straightforward; devious; deceitful: He is known as a shady, indirect fellow.

  3. not direct in bearing, application, force, etc.: indirect evidence.

  4. Grammar. of, relating to, or characteristic of indirect discourse: an indirect quote.

  5. not descending in a direct line of succession, as a title or inheritance.

Origin of indirect

First recorded in 1350–1400; a Middle English word from the Medieval Latin word indīrēctus; see in-3, direct

Other words for indirect

Other words from indirect

  • in·di·rect·ly, adverb
  • in·di·rect·ness, noun
  • sem·i-in·di·rect, adjective
  • sem·i-in·di·rect·ness, noun

Words Nearby indirect Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use indirect in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for indirect


/ (ˌɪndɪˈrɛkt) /

  1. deviating from a direct course or line; roundabout; circuitous

  2. not coming as a direct effect or consequence; secondary: indirect benefits

  1. not straightforward, open, or fair; devious or evasive: an indirect insult

  2. (of a title or an inheritance) not inherited in an unbroken line of succession from father to son

Derived forms of indirect

  • indirectly, adverb
  • indirectness, 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