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

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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