Meaning of INDIRECT in English

|in+ adjective

Etymology: Middle English, from Medieval Latin indirectus, from Latin in- in- (I) + directus direct

: not direct: as


(1) : deviating from a direct line or course : not proceeding straight from one point to another : proceeding obliquely or circuitously : roundabout

following an indirect route across the continent

(2) : not going straight to the point : not proceeding to an intended end by the most direct course or method

making indirect but perfectly legitimate inquiries into his prospects — Mary Austin

b. : not straightforward and open : tending to mislead : deceitful , dishonest

seemed to me to be an untrustworthy indirect individual

c. : not directly aimed at or achieved

doubtless they had some not clearly recognized indirect purpose in mind

: not resulting directly from an action or cause

there will be many indirect consequences of their stupidity


(1) : stating what a real or supposed original speaker said without directly quoting the actual words and marked by changes that conform the statement grammatically to the words of the one making the statement

the words he could come in the sentence “he said that he could come” are an indirect quotation

indirect discourse

an example of an indirect question is how she was in the statement “he asked her how she was”

(2) of the object of a verb : being the secondary goal of an action

borrower in “I gave the borrower the book” is an indirect object

(3) of a passive verb or verb form (a) : having a subject that becomes an indirect object when the verb is made active (as he in the statement “he was given a book by them” becomes him in “they gave him a book”)

was given in “he was given a book” is an indirect passive

(b) : constituting a passive verb phrase made up of a verb and prepositional adverb of such a kind that when the verb phrase is made active the prepositional adverb is necessarily retained as a preposition having an object that is the word that had been used as subject of the passive verb phrase

the passive verb phrase was shot at in the statement “the fugitive was shot at by the police” is an indirect passive that is made active in the statement “the police shot at the fugitive”

e. : heteroxenous

• in·directly “+ adverb

• in·directness “+ noun

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