direct (adj.) Look up direct at Dictionary.com
late 14c., from Latin directus "straight," past participle of dirigere "set straight" (see direct (v.)).
direct (v.) Look up direct at Dictionary.com
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 direct, to guide, keep straight" (see regal). Compare 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.