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Direct vs Immediate

Direct, immediate, as applied to relations and as meaning marked by the absence of interruption (as between the cause and the effect, the source and the issue, or the beginning and the end), are frequently used with little distinction, although their connotations may be quite dissimilar.

Direct suggests unbroken connection between one and the other or a straight bearing of one upon the other, while immediate suggests the absence of any intervening medium or influence; thus, direct knowledge is knowledge gained firsthand, but immediate knowledge is that attained by intuition or insight rather than through inference from facts or premises; direct contact stresses the bearing of one thing upon the other, but immediate contact implies the coherence or cohesion of one and the other; direct descent implies descent in a straight line from an ancestor; one's immediate family is composed only of those who are the nearest in relation, or one's father, mother, brothers, and sisters; a direct cause leads straight to its effect, but an immediate cause (which may or may not be the direct cause) is the one which serves as the last link in a chain of causes and brings about a result.