a form of democracy in which the people as a whole make direct decisions, rather than have those decisions made for them by elected representatives
A referendum is a form of direct democracy, as is the practice of recall, by which an elected offical may be voted out of office between elections if enough people sign a petition to remove him and then win the subsequent vote.
late 14c., "to write (to someone), to address," from Latin directus "straight," past participle of dirigere "set straight," from dis- "apart" (see dis-) + regere "to guide" (see regal). Cf. dress; address.
Meaning "to govern, regulate" is from c.1500; "to order, ordain" is from 1650s. Sense of "to write the destination on the outside of a letter" is from 16c. Of plays, films, etc., from 1913. Related: Directed; directing.
late 14c., from Latin directus "straight," past participle of dirigere "set straight" (see direct (v.)).