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

  • noun The quality or state of being indirect.
  • noun Lack of straightforwardness; deviousness.
  • noun A devious act or statement.
  • noun Lack of direction; aimlessness.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun Oblique or irregular course or means; unfair or deceitful action or proceeding; indirectness.

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

  • noun Oblique course or means; dishonest practices; indirectness.

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

  • noun A lack of direction; deviousness or aimlessness
  • noun computing Use of a variable or object through its address
  • noun An indirect action or process.

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

  • noun deceitful action that is not straightforward
  • noun indirect procedure or action


Sorry, no etymologies found.


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  • This novel is an ambitious experiment in indirection by the author of Breakfast on Pluto.

    Irish Psycho 2007

  • And one of the things this book does very well, in its interstices, by indirection, is talk about how that sea-change came about.

    he said my god they're going to bomb us from their vicious flying llamas stillsostrange 2007

  • THE PRESIDENT: Well, since 1991, our strategy has been to keep the sanctions on, keep Iraq from rebuilding its military might and threatening its neighbors, but to pursue this inspection system to end what is the biggest threat both to its neighbors and to others by indirection, which is the chemical, the biological, and the nuclear weapons program.

    Statement On Iraq And Q A ITY National Archives 1998

  • It is strong evidence in favor of a direct and literal Creation; but it furnishes this evidence by indirection, that is, by demolishing the only alternative or rival of

    Q. E. D., or New Light on the Doctrine of Creation George McCready Price

  • Scott suggested using the familiar Hollywood strategy of "indirection" to portray Ginny as "a B-girl, working in a barroom."

    Caught in the Crossfire: Adrian Scott and the Politics of Americanism in 1940s Hollywood 2007

  • The important thing about a mix tape was that it let you say things that it provided a kind of indirection -- a way of saying things that you might not otherwise be able to say in a face-to-face conversation (instant messaging may be like that today).

    Boing Boing 2006

  • There's no doubt who he's talking about-but do voters respond to this kind of indirection?

    The Obama Challenge 2007

  • Another kind of indirection that is very interesting is that of a boy who ostensibly is talking to one, but everything which he is saying is intended for another.

    A Preliminary Study of the Emotion of Love between the Sexes Sanford Bell

  • The same narrow views of the interest of princes and of states governed them all: they seem to have believed that the right and the expedient were constantly opposed to each other; in the intercourses of public men they thought that nothing was more carefully to be shunned than plain speaking and direct dealings, and in these functionaries they regarded the use of every kind of "indirection" as allowable, because absolutely essential to the great end of serving their country.

    Memoirs of the Court of Queen Elizabeth Lucy Aikin 1822

  • I guess the operating theory, such as it exists, is that having one or more levels of indirection, so as to make the effort look more “grass roots” like, is good. fostert says:

    Matthew Yglesias » Breitbart on Podesta 2010


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