Definition of directory in English:



  • 1A book or website listing individuals or organizations alphabetically or thematically with details such as names, addresses, and telephone numbers.

    • ‘Most of these so-called invoices concern subscriptions to print or internet business directories.’
    • ‘The new local area phone directory, being compiled by Roundfort Foroige, is going to print at the weekend.’
    • ‘Even media businesses or services without a web presence can benefit from having their details listed in the directory.’
    • ‘A directory containing the details of the students who are willing to donate blood and their blood groups was released.’
    • ‘The 1848-53 Boston city directories listed names, occupations, and addresses of adult residents of Boston.’
    • ‘Other key activities will include a regional organic trade directory listing producers, processors and retailers.’
    • ‘Choosing a name from the local telephone directory is risky if you have no other information about the provider.’
    • ‘The directory, besides listing details about its members, has several other user-friendly features.’
    • ‘Meelick National School will launch a local telephone directory in the next two weeks.’
    • ‘We would like to compile an interior design directory for small businesses in York.’
    • ‘In this month three enterprising students from De La Salle College compiled a telephone directory of the local area.’
    • ‘I go down to the MHS library and begin looking at the 1912 city directories, alphabetical listings of people, their addresses, and occupations.’
    • ‘The directory lists and provides details of South African Art Organisations, Service Industries, and Infrastructure.’
    • ‘An all-inclusive online directory contains profiles and contact information on legislators and lobbyists.’
    • ‘The directory contains telephone numbers of various companies which have been categorised under different heads.’
    • ‘For this purpose, they conduct surveys and compile an annual directory of all participating companies.’
    • ‘There was no regular Philadelphia city directory published in 1838.’
    • ‘But will he arrange to make copies of the directory available on sale for the public?’
    • ‘The online membership directory is updated quarterly to incorporate this new information.’
    • ‘Microsoft could help by creating an online directory of local outfits that can install the networks.’
    index, list, listing, register, catalogue, record, archive, inventory
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A board in an organization or large store listing names and locations of departments, individuals, etc.
      • ‘There's a store directory over there.’
      • ‘I heard giggling from behind the directory board as I left with Sam, and I knew it was Katie.’
      • ‘I whispered to Matt where we crouched behind one of those directory boards in the shopping centre.’
      • ‘Mr Masri also says that the CCC logo was on display alongside CCUK's name on the company directory inside the entrance to CCUK's offices.’
    2. 1.2Computing A file which consists solely of a set of other files (which may themselves be directories).
      • ‘Of course you can delete your entire root directory with this approach if you so choose.’
      • ‘Though my home directory is encrypted, my data still may not be completely safe.’
      • ‘By default, most Windows programs will save their files to a specified directory on your hard drive.’
      • ‘Windows users' roaming user profiles also are stored in their home directories on the server.’
      • ‘Now, your Linux directory listing should show up graphically in your web browser.’
  • 2historical A book of directions for the conduct of Christian worship, especially in Presbyterian and Roman Catholic Churches.

  • 3The revolutionary government in France 1795–9, comprising two councils and a five-member executive. It maintained an aggressive foreign policy, but could not control events at home and was overthrown by Napoleon Bonaparte.


Late Middle English (in the general sense ‘something that directs’): from late Latin directorium, from director ‘governor’, from dirigere ‘to guide’.