Definition of indirection in English:


Pronunciation /ˌindəˈrekSHən/ /ˌɪndəˈrɛkʃən/

See synonyms for indirection


  • Indirectness or lack of straightforwardness in action, speech, or progression.

    ‘his love of intrigue and sly indirection’
    • ‘Rather, the commission is likely to pursue consumption taxation by stealth and indirection.’
    • ‘The ferry barges across the seafront for its dock with categoric straightness, welcome after the shambles and indirection of Portsmouth.’
    • ‘His method is understatement, indirection, irony.’
    • ‘But some media, which operate through indirection, are at least as important: music, the graphic arts.’
    • ‘Along with many exotic artifacts, Feng has imported the codes and language of courtly love, with its cult of indirection, of secrecy, and of long, slow, wooing.’
    • ‘Sad yet again, if so, that journalists have to resort to indirection to shame their seemingly unshamable peers.’
    • ‘If you're going to take on an author as indirect and allusive as James, then it might be good to try for indirection and allusiveness.’
    • ‘We achieve indirection by exploring that topic metaphorically, via a poem, a story, a piece of music, or a work of art that embodies it.’
    • ‘Call me old-fashioned but back in the good-old-days this used to be done with a bit more indirection, subterfuge and cover, no?’
    • ‘In what may be the ultimate feat of subtlety and indirection, they want to control the behemoth by appealing to its conscience.’
    • ‘Even the simplest language of novels - in Hemingway, for example, or Camus - signifies by indirection a relation to literature and to the world.’
    • ‘It remains for the narrator to incorporate into his own art of narration the advantages of artistic indirection with the certainty of effects.’
    • ‘His interest in gray is metaphysical as well as visual, for he cultivates ambiguity, indirection, and impermanence.’
    • ‘Metaphorical indirection gives way to explicit generalization.’
    • ‘But the personal attacks were there, veiled under euphonious indirection.’
    • ‘Each in his way, Shelley and Musset pushed to extremes the art of indirection; another word would be suspense.’
    • ‘Fantasy, by contrast, enables writers to confront the terrors of our time by way of parabolic indirection.’
    • ‘There's a layer of indirection there, and such layers always make things more flexible and more complex.’
    • ‘In all this indirection, finding direction out is, admittedly, a formidable enterprise.’
    • ‘We seem to want to talk to exactly the people in the past that most scribes in the past found unworthy to record, and so we seek their voices by indirection.’


Late 16th century from indirect, on the pattern of direction.