Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

direction - definition and synonyms

What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.

Thesaurus diagram

The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary. Click on the thesaurus category heading under the button in an entry to see the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

noun     direction pronunciation in American English
/dɪˈrekʃ(ə)n/    direction pronunciation in American English
Word Forms
  1. 1
    [countable] the path that someone or something moves along when going toward a place

    Are you sure we’re going in the right direction?

    change direction:

    The wind has changed direction.

    in a southerly/easterly etc. direction (=toward the south, east etc.):

    The Mississippi River flows in a southerly direction.

    in all directions/in every direction:

    The birds scattered in all directions.

    in the direction of someone/something:

    We drove off in the direction of the mountains.

    in the opposite direction:

    I’d give you a ride, but I’m going in the opposite direction.

    a sense of direction (=knowing which way to go):

    Michelle’s always getting lost because of her terrible sense of direction.

    1. a.
      the way that someone or something faces or points toward

      Houses here are built facing an easterly direction.

      in someone’s/something’s direction:

      People walked by without a look in her direction.

  2. 2
    [countable/uncountable] the general development or progress of someone or something
    direction of:

    He was determined to change the direction of the business.

    a change of direction:

    He was looking for a complete change of direction.

    take a direction:

    Many Republican supporters are unhappy with the direction the party has taken.

  3. 3
    [uncountable] the feeling of having a definite purpose
    lack direction:

    Your life seems to lack direction.

    have a sense of direction:

    He’s always had a strong sense of direction.

  4. 4


    [plural] instructions for doing something or for getting to a place
    follow directions:

    Remember to follow the directions on the label.

    give someone directions to something:

    She gave the driver directions to her house.

    1. a.
      legal information given by a judge to a jury about the legal matters of a case
      give (someone) directions:

      His Honour Judge Martin gave the jury clear directions regarding the issue of intent.

  5. 5
    [uncountable] leadership or management

    Peter was responsible for the general direction of the project.

    under the direction of:

    The building was designed by William Kent, under the personal direction of Henry Richardson.

  6. 6
    [countable] [usually singular] a point that someone or something comes from or goes to

    I knew it would be pointless to expect any help from his direction.

    The evidence is not conclusive, but it does point in this direction.

  7. 7
    [uncountable] theatre, cinema the work of directing a movie, program, or play
    See also production
  • Facebook
  • Twitter


a lifestyle focussing on simple pleasures such as comfort and cosiness in the home, and spending time with friends and family

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary


a form of location that involves the underwater detonation of a bomb which causes sound waves that are picked up by ships

add a word


A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog
Macmillan learn live love play