Definition of direction in US English:



  • 1A course along which someone or something moves.

    ‘she set off in the opposite direction’
    ‘the storm was expected to take a more northwesterly direction’
    • ‘We wandered along in the other direction until we came to the Imperial golf course which we decided to cut across so we could see the canal.’
    • ‘If you do travel, leave a recognizable signal showing your direction of travel.’
    • ‘We constantly had to fight unpredictable currents, sometimes going in opposite directions along the wall on the same dive.’
    • ‘That was until we were pointed in the direction of our monstrous destination.’
    • ‘From there the route heads in a north-westerly direction running along the western side of the Oakpark halting site.’
    • ‘Allison dove in the same general direction as bullets crashed into the shelf behind her.’
    • ‘The route heads in a north-westerly direction running a corridor along the western side of the Oakpark halting site.’
    • ‘It's really fascinating to watch these trains move in opposite directions at very high speed.’
    • ‘Should traffic travel in the opposite direction along certain roads?’
    • ‘This action then causes the valve move in the opposite direction and shut down the channel for the water to flow.’
    • ‘If the pendulums are moving in opposite directions, however, the forces they exert on the beam cancel each other, and the beam doesn't move.’
    • ‘The players' checkers move in opposite directions on a board with 24 spaces.’
    • ‘I had just regained control of my face and chest, so I could slightly move the opposite direction.’
    • ‘So what's happening now is a move in the opposite direction to the one you would want?’
    • ‘They were moving in the opposite direction that the squat nurse had gone.’
    • ‘Just as I notice them, the formation splits, the outer ships breaking off in both directions along the line.’
    • ‘Vehicles coming in the opposite direction up the hill move into the middle lane far too soon and before they know what is coming towards them.’
    • ‘There are few other cars on the road, only an occasional set of lights moving in the opposite direction, away from the night.’
    • ‘Without a look back at their victim, the jaguars split up and took off in opposite directions along the alley.’
    • ‘The theory has been extended to more complex systems such as two-way traffic of two motor species that move along the same filament but in opposite directions.’
    way, route, course, line, run, bearing, orientation
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 The course which must be taken in order to reach a destination.
      ‘he had a terrible sense of direction’
      • ‘But it is I myself who must get there, even though I have the directions and destination down.’
      • ‘Letter writers, like Julia Baird, travel in many different directions to reach their destinations’
      • ‘When she reached the directions ' destination, she was shocked.’
      • ‘Road markings and signage have been put in place to inform motorists of the correct direction they must travel.’
      way, route, course, line, run, bearing, orientation
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2 A point to or from which a person or thing moves or faces.
      ‘a house with views in all directions’
      figurative ‘support came from an unexpected direction’
      • ‘Instead, the reticular lamina moved in a direction perpendicular to its long axis.’
      • ‘Granger causality tests were then conducted on the smoothed data to determine the direction of causality.’
      • ‘A cold front slowly moved through central Florida today changing the wind direction somewhat from west to west northwest.’
      • ‘Remember that signs here mention the compass direction you're heading in.’
      • ‘Arrows mark the promoter of each transcription unit and indicate the direction of transcription.’
      • ‘As you learn it moves across, too, in some direction perpendicular to space.’
      • ‘Turning your legs and feet while keeping your torso facing a different direction is a hard thing to learn.’
      • ‘The traffic coming in a direction perpendicular to Campbell Road makes a signal junction necessary.’
      • ‘An echocardiogram can also use sound waves to determine the direction of blood flow through the heart.’
      • ‘Brackets denote operon boundaries and arrows indicate the direction of transcription of each gene.’
      • ‘The simple solution is to reverse the one way direction in East Street to northwards.’
      • ‘Like the other farmsteads hereabouts, it is protected on three sides by trees and is only open to the views in a direction a little east of south.’
      • ‘Pilots rely on the different wind directions at different heights to ' steer ' the balloon.’
      • ‘Consequently, we cannot draw any firm conclusions about the direction of causality.’
      • ‘Each ' arm ' corresponds to a different wind direction.’
    3. 1.3 A general way in which someone or something is developing.
      ‘new directions in painting and architecture’
      ‘any dialogue between them is a step in the right direction’
      ‘it is time to change direction and find a new job’
      • ‘One move in the right direction is the training course on the detection of traditional remedies held in Hong Kong in March of this year.’
      • ‘He received his degree in commerce, but an accident changed his entire future direction.’
      • ‘All of these indicate future directions for research.’
      • ‘After the World Cup we have a lot of work to do, but Peter is a guy who I think will develop in the right direction in Glasgow.’
      • ‘After Edwards, philosophy developed in several directions.’
      • ‘After stating that it fully concurred in the holding and reasoning of the district court, the Supreme Court proceeded to develop arguments in different directions.’
      • ‘From an island that was dependent entirely on Spain for its cultural directions, it developed into a more cosmopolitan realm with an identity all its own.’
      • ‘We are thrilled to be the focus of this project which will enable us to build on our existing strengths and develop in new directions.’
      • ‘I suspect that there are going to be some important gene variants that are going to have significant functions in sorting out general directions of personality.’
      • ‘The trend indicates the general tendency or direction over the long-term.’
      • ‘The more unstructured a movement is, the less control it has over the directions in which it develops and the political actions in which it engages.’
      • ‘In this regard, I offer a few guesses about some general directions in which statistical physics may change.’
      • ‘Gymnastics is developing in two directions - more complex routines and sharper technique in all elements.’
      • ‘But at least it is a step in the right direction and seems more controlled than previous efforts.’
      • ‘Some trends may be apparent but other changes may occur which may contradict the general direction of the trend.’
      • ‘If Reeves processes his sounds comprehensively, he retains the melodic nature of his sources, enabling his compositions to develop in multiple directions at once.’
      • ‘The Federal Opposition says the new vessel is a step in the right direction, but not enough.’
      • ‘Still, this is at least a step in the right direction, and perhaps a sign that anti-immigrant fervor is dying down again.’
      • ‘A seemingly prolibertarian procedural rule may thus lead the law to develop in antilibertarian substantive directions.’
      • ‘Animal lovers said earlier that the case was a step in the right direction against illegal ownership of endangered animals.’
      orientation, inclination, leaning, tendency
      View synonyms
    4. 1.4 General aim or purpose.
      ‘the campaign's lack of direction’
      • ‘We are conscious beings who exercise some choice in our lives, giving direction and purpose to them.’
      • ‘It has obviously never occurred to him that people may not want any purpose and direction from the EU.’
      • ‘Such lack of purpose and direction is not in the national interest.’
      • ‘It seems to me that a lack of direction and purpose leads to a lack of leadership and motivation.’
      • ‘Like the rails that keep a train on track, they provide direction, motive and purpose.’
      • ‘What gave direction and purpose to this movement was a chain of events linked to the liberation of Bangladesh.’
      • ‘I didn't have purpose or meaning or direction… so I tried to fill it up with drama.’
      • ‘No, not really; it's just that it has lost any sense of moral purpose and direction.’
      • ‘The talented Crimson Tide will find direction and purpose under new coach Dennis Franchione.’
      • ‘Our lives and our world are part of a larger scheme that has direction and purpose.’
      • ‘The US forces might lack purpose or direction but there are plenty of both to the insurgents' attacks.’
      • ‘Under the former Tipperary manager Antrim has been blended into a cohesive unit that plays with purpose and direction.’
      • ‘He is a man who paints precisely, laying down every stroke with deliberation, purpose and direction.’
      • ‘This indicates that he uses his considerable energies and talents with purpose and direction.’
      • ‘I see our young men struggle because they have no direction or purpose for their lives, and it's more than sad.’
      • ‘What Josh lacks in general artistic direction, he more than makes up for in sheer volume.’
      • ‘But they are not ready to accept that there is no purpose or direction to life.’
      • ‘Leadership, he said, influences people by providing purpose, direction and motivation.’
      • ‘He picked her up and gave her a new sense of direction and purpose.’
      • ‘My life has no purpose, no direction, no aim, no meaning, and yet I'm happy.’
      attitude, inclination, aim, intention
      View synonyms
  • 2The management or guidance of someone or something.

    ‘under his direction, the college has developed an international reputation’
    • ‘All other members of the pack look to the alpha dog for direction and guidance.’
    • ‘Other situations which rely on a different style of leadership and a different style of direction and control have to be accepted as well.’
    • ‘For without a leader to give direction, counsel and wisdom, any well-intended venture is bound to fail.’
    • ‘New legislation will be needed to give the trusts their powers and freedoms and remove them from the Secretary of State's powers of direction.’
    • ‘Because there's been no direction, no guidance, they've gone into crime.’
    • ‘They call it true parents, as parents who provide parental guidance or parental direction.’
    • ‘She shared that we are their role models and heroes and they look to us for guidance and direction.’
    • ‘To get intimate access and remain friends, he handed over direction and editorial control.’
    • ‘It will be hard to replace that kind of vision, direction and leadership.’
    • ‘Process innovation is typically much more top down, requiring strong direction from senior management.’
    • ‘This tradition stretches back many years and probably started under the guidance and direction of the late Dermot Burke.’
    • ‘He was the complainant's father, one whom she loved and respected and one whom she looked to for direction and guidance.’
    • ‘We have thereafter more or less enjoyed a pretty good record when it comes to management and direction of the public sector.’
    • ‘GMS will provide overall Project Management and direction and will act as the sole point of contact to the Client.’
    • ‘This inquiry should have been ordered last year when the Royal Infirmary management was crying out for funding and direction.’
    • ‘Their main role is to oversee the school's direction and to have a say in the way the school is going.’
    • ‘Our squad is comprised of skilled world class players who now have an excellent coach with direction and ample influence.’
    • ‘Leadership and direction should be forthcoming form the County Board officers.’
    administration, management, supervision, superintendence, government, regulation, orchestration
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1 The work of supervising and controlling the actors and other staff in a movie, play, or other production.
      • ‘Under his direction, the film's expert pacing builds quickly as the movie enters its second half.’
      • ‘The style of camerawork and direction is very appealing and fits the tone of the film quite expertly.’
      • ‘Barnes's direction hasn't managed to mend the brittle bones of the play.’
      • ‘Looking at your direction in the film, it's very relaxed and assured.’
      • ‘It's a clumsy scene in every sense - purpose, scripting, direction, acting.’
      • ‘He had also been involved in the production and direction of more than 20 serials and films.’
      • ‘However, the actors and direction are very impressive, and there's some snappy, witty dialogue.’
      • ‘Much of play rests on the strength of powerful direction and production.’
      • ‘But for sheer skill in direction and performance this film is impressive.’
      • ‘His direction is perfect, managing to condense a 2200-page comic into a two-hour film.’
      • ‘While I have no complaints with his direction of this film, I wasn't overly impressed.’
      • ‘A nice, tight plot with solid acting and direction is still enough to make a film successful.’
      • ‘What he does bring to his direction is an actor's flair for bringing out the best in his cast.’
      • ‘I was genuinely surprised by the solid, thoughtful direction Levin gave his film.’
      • ‘I imagine the script must have been rather slim, how did you provide direction for your actors without having dialog to build around?’
      • ‘His pace is quirky and his direction of the actors inventive.’
      • ‘The biggest flaw with the film is not its crippled script or flat direction or flailing acting.’
      • ‘From there she went to the National Film and Television School, specialising in cinematography and direction.’
      • ‘The teenagers have taken responsibility for every aspect of the film, from direction to editing, which they are doing at the moment.’
      • ‘I think this film has some clever direction but in a very kind of routine fashion.’
    2. 2.2directions Instructions on how to reach a destination or about how to do something.
      ‘Preston gave him directions to a restaurant’
      ‘directions for making puff pastry’
      • ‘Any group of people that can't even follow simple directions must come from a terribly backward state.’
      • ‘Read the entire label before use and carefully follow the labeled directions for use.’
      • ‘She has just given him directions to her destination, and he suggests an alternative route to avoid the rush-hour traffic.’
      • ‘Take the wrong turn and there's no angry admonishment - the software quickly replots your course and provides a new set of directions to the destination.’
      • ‘He did not know York as he comes from Leeds, but a taxi driver gave him directions and he reached York District Hospital.’
      • ‘Give one direction at a time during the procedure to help your child if needed.’
      • ‘The couple, always generous, happily gave their neighbor the directions to reach the pool.’
      • ‘The manufacturer's directions were followed while performing the test.’
      • ‘Follow the manufacturer's directions on the label when applying.’
      • ‘Following his vague directions, they reached their destination.’
      • ‘With any relaxer kit, you must carefully follow all directions to avoid potential skin and scalp burns, hair loss and eye injury.’
      • ‘Since I had my phone, you're probably thinking that I should have simply called my destination for directions.’
      • ‘When installing car seats the manufacturer's directions must be followed exactly.’
      • ‘Also, purchase carbon monoxide detectors and use them according to manufacturer's directions.’
      instruction, command, order, bidding, charge, injunction, dictate, decree, edict, enjoinment, prescription, rule, regulation, requirement
      View synonyms
    3. 2.3 An authoritative order or command.
      ‘to suggest that members of Congress would take direction on how to vote is an affront’
      • ‘If your Honour were minded to give directions along those lines, we would have no difficulty with accommodating the Fishing Industry's submissions.’
      • ‘Mr Owens must also follow the directions of the probation officer on what course is deemed necessary.’
      • ‘The same document communicated removal directions for removal that same day to Zimbabwe.’
      • ‘The Secretary of State has issued directions under section 32.’
      • ‘Having regard to the views of this Court in Cowan, we consider that it is desirable that a direction along the lines indicated above should be given.’


  • sense of direction

    • A person's ability to know without explicit guidance the direction in which they are or should be moving.

      • ‘But there was still plenty to concern him; he was worried about the need to give his period in office a sense of direction, about how his narrative might appear to future historians.’
      • ‘In fact maps would be of little use to someone who lacked altogether a sense of direction; we need a sense of direction even to find our way around the map and then to orient the map to our immediate environment.’
      • ‘There were thousands and thousands of people out in Liverpool and as we staggered around early Sunday morning at 3am looking for a taxi, I was cursing this fact almost as much as Dean and Jon's lack of a sense of direction.’
      • ‘She said: ‘I felt it lacked a sense of direction and focus.’’
      • ‘By the sixth day, the entire group was wandering through the hills without a sense of direction.’


Late Middle English (in direction (sense 2)): from Latin directio(n-), from the verb dirigere (see direct).