a word or group of words representing the person or thing with reference to which the action of a verb is performed, in English generally coming between the verb and the direct object and paraphrasable as the object of a preposition, usually to or for, following the direct object, as the boy in He gave the boy a book.
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Origin of indirect object
First recorded in 1875–80
Words nearby indirect object
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021
British Dictionary definitions for indirect object
grammar a noun, pronoun, or noun phrase indicating the recipient or beneficiary of the action of a verb and its direct object, as John in the sentence I bought John a newspaperCompare direct object
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
Cultural definitions for indirect object
notes for indirect object
Indirect objects can often take or suggest the preposition to. For example, “He showed (to) me the book.”
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.