1. not in a direct course or path; deviating from a straight line; roundabout: an indirect course in sailing.
  2. coming or resulting otherwise than directly or immediately, as effects or consequences: an indirect advantage.
  3. not direct in action or procedure: His methods are indirect but not dishonest.
  4. not straightforward; devious; deceitful: He is known as a shady, indirect fellow.
  5. not direct in bearing, application, force, etc.: indirect evidence.
  6. of, relating to, or characteristic of indirect discourse: an indirect quote.
  7. not descending in a direct line of succession, as a title or inheritance.


  1. deviating from a direct course or line; roundabout; circuitous
  2. not coming as a direct effect or consequence; secondaryindirect benefits
  3. not straightforward, open, or fair; devious or evasivean indirect insult
  4. (of a title or an inheritance) not inherited in an unbroken line of succession from father to son

mid-15c., from indirect + -ly (2).


late 14c., from Middle French indirect (14c.) or directly from Late Latin indirectus, from in- “not, opposite of” (see in- (1)) + directus (see direct). Related: Indirectness.

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