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’
    • ‘That was until we were pointed in the direction of our monstrous destination.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I had just regained control of my face and chest, so I could slightly move the opposite direction.’
    • ‘There are few other cars on the road, only an occasional set of lights moving in the opposite direction, away from the night.’
    • ‘This action then causes the valve move in the opposite direction and shut down the channel for the water to flow.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The players' checkers move in opposite directions on a board with 24 spaces.’
    • ‘From there the route heads in a north-westerly direction running along the western side of the Oakpark halting site.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘So what's happening now is a move in the opposite direction to the one you would want?’
    • ‘Should traffic travel in the opposite direction along certain roads?’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Just as I notice them, the formation splits, the outer ships breaking off in both directions along the line.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘They were moving in the opposite direction that the squat nurse had gone.’
    • ‘Without a look back at their victim, the jaguars split up and took off in opposite directions along the alley.’
    way, route, course, line, run, bearing, orientation
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    1. 1.1 The course which must be taken in order to reach a destination.
      ‘he had a terrible sense of direction’
      • ‘Road markings and signage have been put in place to inform motorists of the correct direction they must travel.’
      • ‘Letter writers, like Julia Baird, travel in many different directions to reach their destinations’
      • ‘But it is I myself who must get there, even though I have the directions and destination down.’
      • ‘When she reached the directions ' destination, she was shocked.’
      way, route, course, line, run, bearing, orientation
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    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.’
      • ‘Pilots rely on the different wind directions at different heights to ' steer ' the balloon.’
      • ‘The simple solution is to reverse the one way direction in East Street to northwards.’
      • ‘Consequently, we cannot draw any firm conclusions about the direction of causality.’
      • ‘Remember that signs here mention the compass direction you're heading in.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Granger causality tests were then conducted on the smoothed data to determine the direction of causality.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘A cold front slowly moved through central Florida today changing the wind direction somewhat from west to west northwest.’
      • ‘As you learn it moves across, too, in some direction perpendicular to space.’
      • ‘Each ' arm ' corresponds to a different wind direction.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Arrows mark the promoter of each transcription unit and indicate the direction of transcription.’
    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’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The trend indicates the general tendency or direction over the long-term.’
      • ‘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 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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Still, this is at least a step in the right direction, and perhaps a sign that anti-immigrant fervor is dying down again.’
      • ‘He received his degree in commerce, but an accident changed his entire future direction.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘In this regard, I offer a few guesses about some general directions in which statistical physics may change.’
      • ‘The Federal Opposition says the new vessel is a step in the right direction, but not enough.’
      • ‘After Edwards, philosophy developed in several directions.’
      • ‘A seemingly prolibertarian procedural rule may thus lead the law to develop in antilibertarian substantive directions.’
      • ‘All of these indicate future directions for research.’
      • ‘Animal lovers said earlier that the case was a step in the right direction against illegal ownership of endangered animals.’
      • ‘Some trends may be apparent but other changes may occur which may contradict the general direction of the trend.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Gymnastics is developing in two directions - more complex routines and sharper technique in all elements.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘But at least it is a step in the right direction and seems more controlled than previous efforts.’
      orientation, inclination, leaning, tendency
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    4. 1.4 General aim or purpose.
      ‘the campaign's lack of direction’
      • ‘Our lives and our world are part of a larger scheme that has direction and purpose.’
      • ‘What gave direction and purpose to this movement was a chain of events linked to the liberation of Bangladesh.’
      • ‘It seems to me that a lack of direction and purpose leads to a lack of leadership and motivation.’
      • ‘Under the former Tipperary manager Antrim has been blended into a cohesive unit that plays with purpose and direction.’
      • ‘My life has no purpose, no direction, no aim, no meaning, and yet I'm happy.’
      • ‘It has obviously never occurred to him that people may not want any purpose and direction from the EU.’
      • ‘He picked her up and gave her a new sense of direction and purpose.’
      • ‘I see our young men struggle because they have no direction or purpose for their lives, and it's more than sad.’
      • ‘This indicates that he uses his considerable energies and talents with purpose and direction.’
      • ‘Like the rails that keep a train on track, they provide direction, motive and purpose.’
      • ‘He is a man who paints precisely, laying down every stroke with deliberation, purpose and direction.’
      • ‘Leadership, he said, influences people by providing purpose, direction and motivation.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Such lack of purpose and direction is not in the national interest.’
      • ‘The talented Crimson Tide will find direction and purpose under new coach Dennis Franchione.’
      • ‘We are conscious beings who exercise some choice in our lives, giving direction and purpose to them.’
      • ‘The US forces might lack purpose or direction but there are plenty of both to the insurgents' attacks.’
      attitude, inclination, aim, intention
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  • 2The management or guidance of someone or something.

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


  • sense of direction

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

      • ‘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.’
      • ‘She said: ‘I felt it lacked a sense of direction and focus.’’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘By the sixth day, the entire group was wandering through the hills without a sense of direction.’
      • ‘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.’


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