In AE, is it appropriate to designate as a "directory" the main information board found in the concourse or front room of a public place such as a passenger station, an airport, a shopping mall, an hospital, a movie theater, etc. -- and assisting people in finding various information like arrivals and departures, tracks, gates, levels/floors to certain sections/offices/departments, etc.? Or, is there another name (or other names) by it?

If indeed it is, why then can't I seem to find one single dictionary online in which "directory" is defined as such?

If I hadn't already come across this term used in that specific sense, there would be no authoritative source online to state it as fact.

  • Yes to everything except the movie theater information board, which, because I need to remember its name is a blank to me. Someone more clear-headed than I will answer, I hope. Mar 4, 2014 at 0:21
  • @Susan Actually, I'm asking the question because I can't seem to find a dictionary online that defines a "directory" as such.
    – Elian
    Mar 4, 2014 at 0:28
  • Hmm. Hospitals definitely have directories (google hospital directory and you'll even see pictures)... Airport directory will get you a bazillion hits on the pilot's handbook but airport information board will get you the board, and we call the map which states You are here a directory... Maybe I'm wrong. I'll let someone else take this, if that's ok. Mar 4, 2014 at 0:39
  • @Susan: Could the word you're thinking of for theaters be a marquee (def 1.2.b)? (I never knew it had that many definitions!)
    – user39720
    Mar 4, 2014 at 0:39
  • @dingo_dan - No, that's the big illuminated sign over the door. :( I feel helpless tonight. Mar 4, 2014 at 0:40

1 Answer 1


You've actually asked about several different types of signage in your question.

If you are asking about a building with a sign directing you to various floors or offices, then this is called a building directory. Oddly, I cannot find a dictionary definition for this use either. But, here is a company that makes electronic versions of them.

If you are speaking of a sign that tells airport departure or arrival times, gates, flight info, this is called a board. (e.g. Departure Board) You could make a case to refer to this as a directory, but most airports call this the board or information board.

If you are speaking of a board that tells you theatre times, then this is called a theatre schedule board. I don't know that this is a formal name for it, but that's what I've always called it.

And, for anything that hangs on a wall or for a ceiling that tells you where you are going, you can always use the catch-all sign to describe this.

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