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[dih-rek-tuh-ree, -tree, dahy-] /dɪˈrɛk tə ri, -tri, daɪ-/
noun, plural directories.
a book containing an alphabetical index of the names and addresses of persons in a city, district, organization, etc., or of a particular category of people.
a board or tablet on a wall of a building listing the room and floor numbers of the occupants.
a book of directions.
  1. Also called folder. an organizing unit in a computer's file system for storing and locating files. In a hierarchical file system, directories can contain child directories (subdirectories) as well as files.
  2. a description of characteristics of a particular file, as the layout of fields within each record.
the Directory, French History. the body of five directors forming the executive power of France from 1795 to 1799.
serving to direct; directing; directive.
Origin of directory
late Middle English
1400-50; late Middle English < Medieval Latin dīrēctōrium, noun use of Late Latin dīrēctōrius directorial; in def. 5, translation of French Directoire < Medieval Latin, as above Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for directory
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Will the directory stop further outrages on American commerce, ask the envoys?

  • Perhaps the directory of the county town is the only available volume.

    The Book-Hunter John Hill Burton
  • On their arrival the French directory refused to recognize them.

  • It was called the directory, and consisted of nine Brethren.

  • I looked him up in the directory and the address is as you state.

    Foe-Farrell Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch
  • And when he wants information does he hunt up a directory or a cop?

    Torchy Sewell Ford
  • In September 1797 the French directory made the unpardonable mistake of compelling her to prepare for a war to the knife.

    William Pitt and the Great War John Holland Rose
  • The directory in the silent and unpopulated lobby was names, all names.

    Card Trick Walter Bupp AKA Randall Garrett
British Dictionary definitions for directory


/dɪˈrɛktərɪ; -trɪ; daɪ-/
noun (pl) -ries
a book, arranged alphabetically or classified by trade listing names, addresses, telephone numbers, etc, of individuals or firms
a book or manual giving directions
a book containing the rules to be observed in the forms of worship used in churches
a less common word for directorate (sense 2)
(computing) an area of a disk, Winchester disk, or floppy disk that contains the names and locations of files currently held on that disk


/dɪˈrɛktərɪ; -trɪ; daɪ-/
noun the Directory
(history) the body of five directors in power in France from 1795 until their overthrow by Napoleon in 1799 Also known as the French Directory
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for directory

1540s, "guide, book of rules," from Medieval Latin directorium, noun use of neuter of Latin directorius, from directus (see direct (v.)). Meaning "alphabetical listing of inhabitants of a region" is from 1732; listing of telephone numbers is from 1908. As an adjective, from mid-15c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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directory in Technology

file system
A node in a hierarchical file system which contains zero or more other nodes - generally, files or other directories.
The term "folder" is sometimes used in systems such as the Macintosh or Microsoft Windows in which directories are traditionally depicted as folders (like small briefcases).

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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