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Consider the following quote:

When a pipe carries water, or a wire carries electricity, it contains and directs the flow of the water or the electricity.

Is direct here sense 2 from OALD?

2 [transitive] to control or be in charge of somebody/something

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It's basically the same as direction; if the pipe goes south, the water goes south. Check out Wordnik, where you'll find: direct (v.) to cause to move toward a goal; to aim; to show or indicate the way for; to cause to move in or follow a straight course. I think all of these describe water being directed by a plumbing system to some extent. – J.R. Nov 28 '12 at 23:43
up vote 4 down vote accepted

I don't have OALD, but here is dictionary.com:

verb (used with object) ...2. to regulate the course of; control: History is directed by a small number of great men and women.

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