Definition of indirect in English:

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Pronunciation: /ɪndɪˈrɛkt/
Pronunciation: /ɪndʌɪˈrɛkt/


1Not directly caused by or resulting from something: full employment would have an indirect effect on wage levels
More example sentences
  • Direct impacts initiate subsequent rounds of income creation, spending and re-spending and result in indirect and induced effects.
  • In this first mechanism, the gene is not strictly required in the embryo sac; the effect is an indirect result of the specialization of the endosperm.
  • What if the heritabilities observed for IQ are a result of indirect effects that can be changed by changing social practice?
incidental, accidental, unintended, secondary, subordinate, ancillary, collateral, concomitant, accompanying, contingent, resulting, resultant, consequential, derived, derivative
1.1Not done directly; conducted through intermediaries: local government under the indirect control of the British
More example sentences
  • There is indirect evidence for the existence of such intermediates.
  • In the absence of neap tide transect data this hypothesis cannot be tested directly, but three pieces of indirect evidence weigh against it as a complete explanation.
  • The crystals in the meteorite are the strongest indirect evidence in history that life did exist on other worlds.
1.2(Of costs) deriving from overhead charges or subsidiary work: hidden or indirect costs involved in training
More example sentences
  • Will this new organization repay all direct costs as well as indirect costs and allocated overhead?
  • The award will not include overhead or indirect costs.
  • You will also have other costs, indirect costs or overheads, these are costs you will still have to pay whether you work for that client or not.
1.3(Of taxation) levied on goods and services rather than income or profits.
Example sentences
  • He also shifted the tax burden from direct income tax to indirect taxation through the introduction of a goods and service tax.
  • And if you tax consumption with indirect taxation, taxes often pyramid, with resultant price increases of a regressive nature.
  • The paradigm of direct taxation is income tax, the paradigm of indirect taxation is a tax on sales.
2(Of a route) not straight; not following the shortest way: he took a careful, indirect route home from his dockside rendezvous
More example sentences
  • To have any hope of success, the effort to reduce the country's dependence on subsidies will have to follow indirect routes.
  • And they took a most indirect route to the cemetery, heading out across the Bow flyover.
  • Some businesses said they had experienced a drop in takings when it came to the closure because many customers were not willing to take an indirect route.
2.1(Of lighting) from a concealed source and diffusely reflected: fittings were installed to give a subdued, indirect light in the nave
More example sentences
  • Shielded lamps and indirect luminaires prevent the lighting installation from aggravating the problems of stress.
  • Use indirect lighting such as an adjustable light source at your desk to find the right amount of glare-free light.
  • The ceiling was at least five meters over their heads, a cool, light-blue dome illuminated by indirect lighting.
3Avoiding direct mention or exposition of a subject: an indirect attack on the Archbishop
More example sentences
  • I would be surprised if I went through all the prayers and there was no mention, direct or indirect, of the Ten Commandments or a couple of them.
  • Of the Tories, there was only one direct mention and one indirect reference as the Prime Minister seemed to have bigger things on his mind.
  • Being excitable is not helpful in dealing with a direct or indirect attack and discredits all the good work.
oblique, inexplicit, roundabout, circuitous;
implicit, implied, allusive
4 Soccer Denoting a free kick from which a goal may not be scored directly.
Example sentences
  • Could have been an own-goal or it could have been an indirect free-kick for a back-pass.
  • However, the game was far from over and after Portlaw scored an indirect free kick, Kilmac found themselves under pressure, but held out for victory.
  • It's an indirect free-kick for Sweden on the byline just outside the Bulgaria six-yard box.



Pronunciation: /ɪndɪˈrɛktnəs/
Pronunciation: /ɪndʌɪˈrɛktnəs/
Example sentences
  • The indirectness of the process invites a certain familiarity.
  • With a cultural group in which indirectness is more valued, family members should not be pushed to make demands of others without trying gentle appeals and negotiation first.
  • The indirectness of this approach relates to the pragmatics of the culture: the Navajo avoid speaking for another person or controlling the behavior of others.


Late Middle English (in the sense 'not in full grammatical concord'): from medieval Latin indirectus, from in- 'not' + directus (see direct).

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: in|dir¦ect

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