What is Directed Verdict?

Legal Definition
In a jury trial, a directed verdict is an order from the presiding judge to the jury to return a particular verdict. Typically, the judge orders a directed verdict after finding that no reasonable jury could reach a decision to the contrary. After a directed verdict, there is no longer any need for the jury to decide the case.

A judge may order a directed verdict as to an entire case or only to certain issues.

In a criminal case in the United States, once the prosecution has closed its case, the defendant may move for a directed verdict. If granted, the verdict will be "not guilty". The prosecution may never seek a directed verdict of guilty, as the defendant has a constitutional right to present a defense and rebut the prosecution's case and have a jury determine guilt or innocence (where a defendant has waived his/her right to a jury trial and allowed the judge to render the verdict, this still applies).

In a civil action, a related concept to the directed verdict is that of a non-suit.

In the American legal system, the concept of directed verdict has largely been replaced by judgment as a matter of law.
-- Wikipedia
Legal Definition
A ruling entered by a trial judge after determining that there is no legally sufficient evidentiary basis for a reasonable jury to reach a different conclusion. The trial court may grant a directed verdict either sua sponte or upon a motion by either party. A directed verdict may be granted at any time, but usually occurs after at least one party has been fully heard.

Motions for a directed verdict are governed by: Rule 50 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, and Rule 29 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure.

For a discussion of directed verdicts in the context of criminal litigation: See Carlisle v. United States, 517 US 416 (1996).