from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun The management, supervision, or guidance of a group or operation.
  • noun The art or action of directing a musical or theatrical production.
  • noun An authoritative order or command.
  • noun Music A word or phrase in a score indicating how a passage is to be played or sung.
  • noun Instructions in how to do something or reach a destination.
  • noun The course along which a person or thing is moving or must move to reach a destination.
  • noun The point toward which a person or thing faces or is oriented.
  • noun A course or line of development; a tendency toward a particular end or goal.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun Relative position considered without regard to linear distance.
  • noun The act of governing; administration; management; guidance; superintendence: as, the direction of public affairs, of domestic concerns, of a bank, of conscience; to study under the direction of a tutor.
  • noun The act of directing, aiming, pointing, or applying: as, the direction of good works to a good end.
  • noun The end or object toward which something is directed.
  • noun An order; a prescription, either verbal or written; instruction in what manner to proceed.
  • noun In equity pleading, that part of the bill containing the address to the court.
  • noun In music, the act or office of a conductor or director.
  • noun A superscription, as on a letter or package, directing to whom and where it is to be sent; an address.
  • noun A body or board of directors; a directorate.
  • noun In astrology, the difference of right or oblique ascension between the significator and promotor.
  • noun In mech.: The line in which a body moves or tends to proceed, according to the force impressed upon it. Thus, if a body falls freely by gravity, its line of direction is a line perpendicular to the horizon, or one which, if produced, would pass through the earth's center.
  • noun A line drawn from the center of gravity of any body perpendicular to the horizon.
  • noun Synonyms Oversight, government, control.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun The act of directing, of aiming, regulating, guiding, or ordering; guidance; management; superintendence; administration.
  • noun That which is imposed by directing; a guiding or authoritative instruction; prescription; order; command.
  • noun The name and residence of a person to whom any thing is sent, written upon the thing sent; superscription; address.
  • noun The line or course upon which anything is moving or aimed to move, or in which anything is lying or pointing; aim; line or point of tendency; direct line or course.
  • noun The body of managers of a corporation or enterprise; board of directors.
  • noun (Gun.) The pointing of a piece with reference to an imaginary vertical axis; -- distinguished from elevation. The direction is given when the plane of sight passes through the object.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun The action of directing; pointing (something) towards.
  • noun Guidance, instruction.
  • noun The work of the director in cinema or theater; the skill of directing a film, play etc.
  • noun archaic An address.
  • noun The path or course of a given movement, or moving body; an indication of the point toward which an object is moving.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun a line leading to a place or point
  • noun a message describing how something is to be done
  • noun something that provides direction or advice as to a decision or course of action
  • noun the spatial relation between something and the course along which it points or moves
  • noun a general course along which something has a tendency to develop
  • noun a formal statement of a command or injunction to do something
  • noun the concentration of attention or energy on something
  • noun the act of managing something
  • noun the act of setting and holding a course


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English, arrangement, from Latin dīrēctiō, dīrēctiōn-, from dīrēctus, past participle of dīrigere, to direct; see direct.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Latin dīrēctiō.


Help support Wordnik (and make this page ad-free) by adopting the word direction.



Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • Pre-school children were given a test which included this picture, along with the question: "In which direction is this bus traveling — left or right?" Four-year-old children almost always answered "left." When asked, "Why do you think the bus is traveling in the left direction?" they typically answered: "Because you can't see the door." (From ArtLex)

    June 4, 2008