di·rect (dĭ-rĕkt, dī-)
v. di·rect·ed, di·rect·ing, di·rects
a. To manage or regulate the business or affairs of; be in charge of: direct a government agency.
b. To supervise or oversee (an activity or process): direct the building of a new road. See Synonyms at conduct.
a. To give guidance and instruction to (actors or musicians, for example) in the rehearsal, performance, or production of a work.
b. To supervise the performance or production of: direct a play; direct a film.
3. To give an order to; command: directed the student to answer.
4. To show or indicate the way for: directed us to the airport.
a. To cause to move in a certain direction or toward a certain object; turn or point: directed the light toward the end of the hall.
b. To concentrate or focus (one's sight or attention, for example) on a particular object or activity. See Synonyms at aim.
a. To indicate the intended recipient on (a letter, for example).
b. To address or adapt (remarks, for example) to a specific person, audience, or purpose.
1. To give commands or directions.
2. To conduct a performance or rehearsal.
See direct examination.
1. Proceeding without interruption in a straight course or line; not deviating or swerving: a direct route.
2. Straightforward and candid; not devious or ambiguous: a direct response.
3. Having no intervening persons, conditions, or agencies; immediate: direct contact; direct sunlight.
4. Effected by action of the voters, rather than through elected representatives or delegates: direct elections.
5. Being of unbroken descent; lineal: a direct descendant of the monarch.
6. Consisting of the exact words of the writer or speaker: a direct quotation; direct speech.
7. Lacking compromising or mitigating elements; absolute: direct opposites.
8. Mathematics Varying in the same manner as another quantity, especially increasing if another quantity increases or decreasing if it decreases.
9. Astronomy Designating west-to-east motion of a planet in the same direction as the sun's apparent annual movement with respect to the stars.
10. Sports Being a direct free kick.
[Middle English directen, from Latin dīrigere, dīrēct-, to give direction to : dī-, dis-, apart; see DIS- + regere, to guide; see reg- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.