Definition of direct in English:

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Pronunciation: /dɪˈrɛkt/


1Extending or moving from one place to another without changing direction or stopping: there was no direct flight that day
More example sentences
  • Unfortunately, sharing a liability with some other African tourist destinations, there is no direct flight to Khartoum.
  • You can fly directly to Palma from both Glasgow and Edinburgh with Globespan until the end of this month, and direct flights are available throughout the year.
  • The minister for transport is using this occasion to invite Arab and other foreign airlines to resume direct flight to Iraq.
straight, undeviating, unswerving;
shortest, quickest
non-stop, unbroken, uninterrupted, straight through, through
1.1 Astronomy & Astrology (Of apparent planetary motion) proceeding from west to east in accord with actual motion.
Example sentences
  • It is also accelerating, since it has maximum retrograde motion near inferior conjunction and maximum direct motion near superior conjunction.
  • Assuming planets are in direct motion, aspects are cast by swifter planets and received by slower ones.
  • Both planets were direct in motion; Mars was moving slowly and Venus was moving swiftly.
2Without intervening factors or intermediaries: the complications are a direct result of bacteria spreading I had no direct contact with Mr Clark
More example sentences
  • Such a structural change in the initiation complex can result from direct contacts between the transcription factor and RNA polymerase.
  • An inquest in Southampton heard that the former ship's fitter died of a lung disease caused as a direct result of contact with asbestos.
  • A lot of the things that you'll see in Chill Factor were a direct result of my efforts.
face to face, personal, unmediated, head-on, immediate, first-hand;
French tête-à-tête
informal from the horse's mouth
2.1(Of light or heat) proceeding from a source without being reflected or blocked: ferns like a bright position out of direct sunlight
More example sentences
  • Shades on the south side block unwanted direct sunlight while reflecting light onto the ceiling of the interior.
  • You can even choose a prismatic block to deliberately direct light onto a light coloured ceiling where it is softly diffused around the room.
  • But it is important not to overheat the casualty so do not apply a hot-water bottle or other source of direct heat.
2.2(Of genealogy) proceeding in continuous succession from parent to child: a direct descendant of Edward III
More example sentences
  • The research has shown a clear genetic relationship amongst Cohanim and their direct lineage from a common ancestor.
  • Although she gets reborn in a Caribbean setting, there is no direct lineage convincingly established for her.
  • Why should the genetic relatedness effect be stronger for direct lineages than it is for peripheral lineages?
2.3(Of a quotation) taken from someone’s words without being changed.
Example sentences
  • The AP story limited direct quotation from the Clinton book to only 180 words.
  • Fromkin uses footnotes to identify direct quotations rather than to support historical argument.
  • This ends our direct quotation from Fisher's thesis, and his description of his machine.
2.4(Of taxation) levied on income or profits rather than on goods or services.
Example sentences
  • Thus the adoption of true free trade involves the abolition of all indirect taxation of whatever kind, and the resort to direct taxation for all public revenues.
  • In addition, the government had been able to reduce direct taxation and pay off part of the national debt from the proceeds of privatization.
2.5Complete (used for emphasis): attitudes which were in direct contrast to the confrontational perspectives of the past
More example sentences
  • In direct contrast to the style of the women sitting opposite me, Dobbin's decor looks like it had been designed by Jackie Healy-Rae.
  • Huntington's innings had been in direct contrast.
  • In direct contrast, feminist accounts have pushed Shajara into the limelight at the cost of the events themselves.
exact, absolute, complete, diametrical, downright, thorough, extreme
3(Of a person or their behaviour) going straight to the point; frank: he is very direct and honest
More example sentences
  • He's somewhat direct and straightforward in his approach to business.
  • He is an immensely likeable, straightforward and direct person.
  • She always liked the way Miss Louise was always direct and straight.
frank, straightforward, honest, candid, open, sincere, straight, straight to the point, blunt, plain-spoken, outspoken, forthright, downright, uninhibited, unreserved, point blank, no-nonsense, matter-of-fact, bluff, undiplomatic, tactless;
not afraid to call a spade a spade, not beating around the bush, speaking as one finds;
explicit, clear, plain, unequivocal, unambiguous, unqualified, categorical
informal straight from the shoulder, upfront
3.1(Of evidence or proof) bearing immediately and unambiguously upon the facts at issue: there is no direct evidence that officials accepted bribes
More example sentences
  • Some findings of primary fact will be the result of direct evidence, whereas others will depend upon inference from direct evidence of such facts.
  • As Mrs. Holland has not suffered a cardiac arrest, this evidence has no direct bearing on the issues that were before the Board.
  • Some point to the fact there is no direct evidence that Hitler himself gave the order for the final solution.
4Perpendicular to a surface; not oblique: a direct butt joint between surfaces of steel


1With no one or nothing in between: they seem reluctant to deal with me direct
More example sentences
  • If you can't face all that fiddle, follow my example and buy direct from small Dorset company, Thursday Cottage.
  • Of course when you live in NZ there are some caveats with buying consumer electronics direct from Japan.
  • However tension between the two over the deal led to the company being sold to Enel direct.
directly, straight, in person, without an intermediary;
French tête-à-tête
1.1By a straight route or without breaking a journey: Austrian Airlines are flying direct to Innsbruck again


[with object]
1Control the operations of; manage or govern: an economic elite directed the nation’s affairs
More example sentences
  • The organizational literature depicts managers as controlling and directing operations.
  • Military planners rely on them to provide command-and-control centres from which operations can be directed.
  • Indeed it's trying to throw reporters off by saying the operation was planned and directed by Iraqi police.
administer, manage, run, control, govern, conduct, handle;
be in charge of, be in control of, be in command of, be the boss of, lead, head, command, rule, preside over, exercise control over, be responsible for, be at the helm of;
supervise, superintend, oversee, guide, regulate, orchestrate, coordinate, engineer, mastermind
informal run the show, call the shots, call the tune, pull the strings, be in the driving seat, be in the saddle
1.1Supervise and control (a film, play, or other production, or the actors in it): the film is directed by Sir Richard Attenborough
More example sentences
  • Along with his nephew, Kit, Kiran has written, produced and directed a short thriller film which has been shot in Hounslow and Richmond.
  • In addition to starring, the Academy Award-winning actor is also directing and producing the film - and doing his own singing.
  • Usually, this shift is accompanied by a great deal of giddy chatter about finally having control of a vision, particularly when an actor is directing his first film.
1.2Train and conduct (a group of musicians).
Example sentences
  • The excellent Armonico Consort musicians and singers, directed by Christopher Monks, create a background to which the action unfolds.
  • The beautiful choir from St Aiden's N.S. was trained and directed by Vivienne Lee and the organist was her father George Lee.
  • Leading the ensemble will be Hugh Smith, senior lecturer in music, who has wide performing and music interest and also directs the St Martin's College Choir and Community Concert Band.
2 [with object and adverbial of direction] Aim (something) in a particular direction or at a particular person: heating ducts to direct warm air to rear-seat passengers his smile was directed at Lois
More example sentences
  • With a fan at the base of the cabinet, warm air is directed at the dogs inside, gently drying them for 30 minutes after their wash.
  • A box fan held open the window, whirring loudly as it directed the warm air from outside inward.
  • You need to direct the warm air from the vents against the windows to compensate for this.
aim, point, level;
address to, intend for, mean for, destine for;
focus on, train on, turn on, fix on
2.1Tell or show (someone) how to get somewhere: can you direct me to the railway station, please?
More example sentences
  • Laurie pinpoints a location and directs Shawn to a scenic overlook.
  • A kindly security guard directs us on our way out.
  • I usually go down Haylands Way and Polhill Avenue, but it directs me via Kimbolton Road…
give directions to, show/point/indicate the way;
guide, steer, lead;
conduct, accompany, usher, escort, navigate, pilot
2.2Address or give instructions for the delivery of (a letter or parcel): put them all in one packet, and direct them to me
More example sentences
  • Since I am the treasurer and the niece sends the dues checks to this address, she directed a certified letter here for the Empress.
  • Secondly, this letter was also not directed to the bar girls.
  • A letter directed to Senator Tom Daschle is thought to be the source of the anthrax, but authorities have not ruled out the possibility that other tainted letters are involved.
address, label, superscribe;
post, send, mail, dispatch
2.3Focus (one’s thoughts) on or address (one’s efforts) towards something.
Example sentences
  • The government is committed to combating social exclusion, and its initial efforts have been directed towards establishing the Universal Bank and forcing normal banks to offer basic bank accounts.
  • And that's what everyone's efforts have been directed towards.
  • Your efforts are best directed towards the radio station, Clear Channel, and the advertisers.
2.4 (direct something at/to) Address a comment to or aim a criticism at: his criticism was directed at the wastage of ammunition I suggest that he direct his remarks to the council
More example sentences
  • I would like to direct my comments to two Supplementary Order Papers on the Table that relate to Part 1.
  • Remember to write as if you are facing the person you are directing your comments to.
  • Cllr Brian Stanley joined the debate, directing his comments to Cllr Lodge.
2.5 (direct something at) Target a product or advertisement specifically at (someone): the book is directed at the younger reader
More example sentences
  • ‘The key with any advertising is understanding the target that that advertising is directed at,’ Wolf said.
  • Although individuals' personal information will remain confidential, the database will enable the advertisers to direct their ads at specific geographies and types of customer.
  • And surely any campaign which effectively improves the health of people is a good thing, no matter whether it is directed at certain groups or mass targeted.
target, market;
orient towards, pitch to/towards;
design for, tailor to
2.6 archaic Guide or advise in a course or decision: the conscience of the credulous prince was directed by saints and bishops
3 [with object and infinitive] Give (someone) an official order or authoritative instruction: the judge directed him to perform community service [with clause]: he directed that no picture from his collection could be sold
More example sentences
  • The men are seeking a court order directing the government to uphold their constitutional rights.
  • There were two orders directing them to supply expert reports in support of their claims.
  • Five years later, in 1993, the High Court favoured the petition and directed the Government to implement the rule of law.
instruct, tell, command, order, give orders to, charge, call on, require, dictate;
adjure, enjoin
literary bid


Late Middle English: from Latin directus, past participle of dirigere, from di- 'distinctly' or de- 'down' + regere 'put straight'.

  • rectangle from late 16th century:

    A rectangle is a shape made up of four right angles, and both English and the Latin source of the word use the same image, for rectangle comes from rectus ‘right, straight’ combined with angulus ‘angle’, also found in angle itself. Rectus is the source of a number of words in English including direct (Late Middle English) ‘in a straight line’, rectify (Late Middle English) ‘put right’, rectitude (Late Middle English) ‘straightness’, and rectum (mid 16th century) from the Latin rectum intestinum ‘straight intestine’

Words that rhyme with direct

affect, bisect, bull-necked, collect, confect, connect, correct, defect, deflect, deject, detect, effect, eject, elect, erect, expect, infect, inflect, inject, inspect, interconnect, interject, intersect, misdirect, neglect, object, perfect, project, prospect, protect, reflect, reject, respect, resurrect, sect, select, subject, suspect, transect, unchecked, Utrecht

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: dir¦ect

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