Meaning of DIRECT in English

I. də̇ˈrekt also dīˈr- sometimes ˈdīˌr- — compare direct II verb

( -ed/-ing/-s )

Etymology: Middle English directen, from Latin directus, past participle of dirigere to set straight, direct, guide — more at dress

transitive verb


a. obsolete : to dedicate to a person

b. obsolete : to write to a person

c. : to mark or label the outer surface of (a message or package to be delivered) with the name and residence or place of business of the intended recipient : superscribe

d. : to supply with a heading, statement, or other indication of a specific addressee or desired recipient

the auditors' certificate directed to the stockholders

e. : to impart orally

the speaker directed a side remark to the gallery

f. : to adapt and arrange in expression so as to have particular applicability or appeal : angle — used with to or at

a lawyer who directs his appeals to intelligence and character

2. : to cause to turn, move, or point undeviatingly or to follow a straight course with a particular destination or object in view:

a. : to dispatch, aim, or guide usually along a fixed path

X rays are directed through a portion of the body

wavelengths directed to southeast Asia

sensitivity to humor directed toward himself

to Peru was directed one of the main currents of Spanish colonial conquest — P.E.James

that Locke's influence upon his successors was primarily to direct them to empiricism — J.W.Yolton

also : assign , allot

many industries direct part of their earnings to academic scholarship funds

b. : to devote with concentration — used usually with to or toward

has he found that he must have someone else toward whom he can direct his mind and in whom he can expand himself — H.A.Overstreet

directing their whole attention toward the international conflict

c. : to aim fixedly : concern or involve oneself primarily or totally with — used with to or toward

ecclesiastical policy was directed primarily toward the liberation of the church from the fetters of secular interest and state expediency — H.D.Hazeltine

applied research may be defined as research directed to the end of reducing the degree of empiricism in a practical art — J.B.Conant

d. : to point, extend, or project especially upward or downward

in these mammoths the tusks are vertically directed at their bases — A.S.Romer

e. : to engage in or launch hostilely : focus — used with against or at

our policy is not directed against any country or doctrine but against hunger, poverty, desperation, and chaos — G.C.Marshall

if atomic or biological warfare should be directed against us

also : to institute for possible launching or application

binding agreements of a much more specific character directed at a potential aggressor — Vera M. Dean

3. : to show or point out the way for

a guide directs tourists to the marine museum

the map directs us to the left

4. : to regulate the activities or course of:

a. : to guide and supervise

directed the floor strategy in the House of Representatives

the archaeologist directing the excavations

specifically : to carry out the organizing, energizing, and supervising of especially in an authoritative capacity

directed the building and arming of an underground network

not only public propaganda, but also cultural infiltration, is directed from the same source — A.T.Bouscaren

b. : administer , conduct

ably directed music and language departments

while in office he directed vigorous prosecutions of racketeers

c. : to dominate and determine the course of

will not find it preposterous that the past should be altered by the present as much as the present is directed by the past — T.S.Eliot

d. : to assist by giving advice, instruction, and supervision

the major professor directs graduate students' thesis research

specifically : to lend a refining, cultivating, or inspiring influence to

direct American taste and mold the genius of the young republic — Van Wyck Brooks

e. : to train and lead performances of (a musical or dramatic aggregation) ; also : to lead a group in presenting (a ballet, opera, concert, play, or motion picture)


a. : to request or enjoin especially with authority

the judge directed the clerk to pass him the paper

the resolution directed the commission to prepare proposals

I direct my executors to present my library intact to my alma mater

also : to issue an order to

Lee directed Jackson to make a wide march to the southwest — T.R.Hay

b. : to prescribe especially by formal or mandatory instruction or legal enactment

a court order directing that the person be brought to a court hearing

postal inspectors directed destruction of the obscene matter

intransitive verb

1. : to point out, prescribe, or determine a course or procedure

however chance shall direct

the directing agencies of society — the family, the city, the church, the school, the workshop, and above all the state — J.M.Cameron

the old theological notion that there is in the universe besides ourselves some directing power that means well by us — J.W.Beach

2. : to direct an orchestra or chorus or a dramatic group or performance

equally clever at composing and directing


address , devote , apply : these four verbs have in common a reflexive use signifying to turn or bend one's attention, energies, or efforts to something. direct and address are not significantly different; one can direct or address oneself to a task, to one's work, or to the study of something; one can direct or address one's attention, one's remarks, one's writings to something or someone. direct may possibly stress more an aim or intent, address more an appeal to or claim upon attention or interest

asked myself to what purpose I should direct my energies — M.R.Cohen

to direct my endeavors … toward the object of my search — Mary W. Shelley

speakers addressed themselves to a common question — H.W.Sams

a story addressed not only to one's sense of excitement and the exotic but also to his sense of honor and humanity — Charles Lee

devote often adds the implication of persistence or of personal dedication

at Cornell he devoted himself primarily to his studies and to athletics — Current Biography

devoted himself chiefly to the affairs of this school for the next eight or ten years of his life — S.P.Chase & R.E.Ham

apply stresses often an intentional turning of the attention or energies, often a concentration or concentrated application; one applies oneself to a task when, after consideration, he determines upon doing the task, or when he directs his whole attention to it, especially for some time

he cannot apply himself to study — Charles Clairmont

after having received a careful education … he applied his attention to practical military subjects — Encyc. Americana

Synonym: see in addition command , conduct .

II. də̇ˈrekt also (ˈ)dī|r-, rapid ˈdre-; after a monosyllabic prefix -dī- occurs less often than in other environments, pronunciations like dī|rektəˈnində̇ˌrekt (“direct and indirect”) being frequent adjective

( sometimes -er/-est )

Etymology: Middle English, from Latin directus straight, direct, from past participle of dirigere


a. : proceeding from one point to another in time or space without deviation or interruption : not crooked, oblique, reflected, refracted, or circuitous

direct blows of the gavel

disintegrated by the direct heat

exposed to the direct force of the hurricane

b. : leading by the short or shortest way to a point or end

a direct route

direct means

direct rays

direct and speedy passenger service to the coast

c. obsolete : moving or extending at a right angle to a surface

a ship needs a direct wind to enter

d. : transmitted back and forth without an intermediary

engaged in a direct exchange of recriminations

no direct communication with the flooded area

e. : assigned in the postal service for separate delivery to a particular addressee rather than routed according to street address

a letter deposited in a direct pouch

f. : capable of being allocated to a particular portion or process of an undertaking and so treated in cost accounts ; specifically : chargeable to a particular job — compare direct cost , direct labor


a. : operating or guided without digression or obstruction

while he gives his more direct attention to something nearer at hand — Nathaniel Hawthorne

her letters … are a direct reflection of her personality — R.A.Hall b. 1911

direct expansion of consumption is of utmost urgency — New Republic

b. : stemming immediately from a source

having no direct authority over factory employment policies

c. : being or passing in a straight line of descent from parent to offspring : lineal

only a collateral relative, not his direct ancestor

the examiner should not overvalue the influence of direct heredity — H.G.Armstrong

d. : clear-cut and distinctive : having no compromising or impairing element : genuine , out-and-out

an undertaking having a direct social purpose

the soldier's pleasures are simple and direct — Fred Majdalany

hoping to avoid direct involvement in the war

e. : blunt and unqualified : delivered point-blank : categorical

his petition for a salary increase was met with a direct rebuff

get back to your post. That's a direct order — Irwin Shaw

evidence from original documents of the dark ages often give the lie direct to sentimental novelists

f. cryptanalysis , of alphabetic sequences : arranged or employed in traditional order : not reversed


a. : characterized by or giving evidence of a close especially logical, causal, or consequential relationship

there is a direct personal tie which assures the beginning of real understanding between individuals — D.J.Shank

most scientific discoveries now have a direct bearing on security

for 20 years in direct association with the library

a hundred different complications in which we shall have a direct interest — F.D.Roosevelt

b. : inevitable , unequivocal

one direct result of improving the living conditions was a rise in the birthrate

c. : serving to get to the point : effective

raising funds would be a directer way of helping the cause

d. : communicating explicitly often with brusqueness : going straight to the point

before any inquiry so direct as to demand a positive answer was addressed to her — Jane Austen

keeps the play direct , uncluttered, and so brisk that the long and familiar story does not make martyrs of its audience — Henry Hewes

her choreography is direct , nowhere obscured by extraneous devices

e. : frank, natural, and positive : straightforward

a charming, lively person who had a direct mind, said what he thought and believed others did the same — Times Literary Supplement

that one's relations with others should be direct and not diplomatic — A.C.Benson

it often told you a great deal that was both too direct and too elusive for words — Willa Cather

f. of the object of a verb : being the one that is the primary goal of an action

him in “I saw him” and me in “he hit me” are direct objects

or that results from an action

a house in “we built a house” is the direct object

4. : marked by absence of an intervening agency, instrumentality, or influence : immediate:

a. : made, carried on, or effected without any intruding factor or intervening step

direct loans

relying less and less on direct observation of nature — Eric Newton

some direct borrowing of Anglo-Norman into English

until the breaking off of direct negotiations

b. : effected by the votes of the people or the electorate and not by representatives

elected for 7 years by direct suffrage — Statesman's Year Book

institutions of direct democracy — popular initiative, the referendum, and the recall — C.A.M.Ewing

the direct election of senators — E.P.Herring

c. : unhampered by divergent, intervening, or separative forces

he had more direct access to the governor than the legislators

prefer the more direct American approach to human problems — David Daiches

d. : effected by one object or substance in contact with another with no insulating or obstructing element between

direct contact with another metal must be avoided

there is no direct connection between the apartments

e. : consisting of or reproducing the exact words of a real or supposed original speaker

the words in quotation marks in the sentence He said, “I can come” are direct quotation

direct discourse


(1) : being without intermediate logical steps

direct proofs

(2) : independent of intermediate representations, percepts, images, or sense data

direct knowledge of things

g. : not requiring an intermediate host for completion : monoxenous — used of the life cycle or development of a parasitic organism

h. : capable of dyeing without the aid of a mordant : substantive — see direct dye


a. : experienced personally without associative effort of anyone else

his account of the battle contains much direct evidence

whereas to conceal direct pain was a virtue, to conceal vicarious pain was a sin — Jan Struther

specifically : firsthand

from direct experience with youngsters at camp

b. : active, personal, and responsible

taking direct charge of the distribution of relief funds

the ordinary worker has a direct part in the production process

specifically : not deputed or to be deputed

few were willing to assume direct responsibility


a. of a celestial body : moving in the general planetary direction from west to east : not retrograde

b. of a binary star : following the direction of increasing position angle : counterclockwise

7. of a sundialect : having a vertical face and facing squarely toward one of the cardinal points of the compass

III. də̇ˈrekt also dīˈ-, rapid ˈdre- adverb

Etymology: Middle English, from direct, adjective

: in a direct way:

a. : from point to point without deviation : by the short or shortest way

by helicopter it is now possible to go direct from port to airport in forty minutes — Ivor Jones

despatching individual books direct to individual teachers — James Britton

b. : from the source or the original without interruption or diversion

broadcast direct from ringside

the writer must take his material direct from life — Douglas Stewart

c. : mechanically joined or in mesh : mechanically or electrically in contact

direct -controlled by the helmsman


(1) : without any intervening agency or step : without any intruding or diverting factor

some enter a career direct from college

refusal to negotiate direct with the puppet regime

specifically : without use of a broker or other middleman

butter that is sold direct without going through the exchanges — Geoffrey Shepherd

(2) : explicitly , unequivocally

the right information direct from his office

in reporting news the television camera brings the event and the personalities direct to the public — Collier's Year Book

(3) : verbatim

translated direct from the Russian text

IV. noun

( -s )

Etymology: direct (II)

1. : a character sometimes put at the end of a musical staff or page of music on a line or space corresponding to the position of the first note of the next staff as a warning to the performer — called also custos

2. : a direct package of postal matter

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.