at·ten·tion | \ ə-ˈten(t)-shən ; sense 4 often (ə-)ˌten(ch)-ˈhət \

Definition of attention 

1a : the act or state of applying the mind to something Our attention was on the game. You should pay attention to what she says.

b : a condition of readiness for such attention involving especially a selective narrowing or focusing of consciousness and receptivity Students, do I have your attention?

2 : observation, notice especially : consideration with a view to action a problem requiring prompt attention

3a : an act of civility or courtesy especially in courtship She welcomed his attentions.

b : sympathetic consideration of the needs and wants of others : attentiveness She lavished attention on her children.

4 : a position assumed by a soldier with heels together, body erect, arms at the sides, and eyes to the front (US) The troops stood at attention. = (British) The troops stood to attention. often used as a command

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Other words from attention

attentional \-ˈten(t)-sh(ə-)nəl \ adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms for attention


absorption, concentration, engrossment, enthrallment, immersion



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Examples of attention in a Sentence

We focused our attention on this particular poem. My attention wasn't really on the game. You need to pay more attention in school. She likes all the attention she is getting from the media. The actor avoids drawing attention to himself. The book has received national attention. The trial is getting a lot of public attention. The children were competing for the teacher's attention. A cat on a leash is sure to attract attention. I would like to call your attention to a problem we are having.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Rotating the earring gently every day is also important, says the AAP, as well as holding off on removal until four to six weeks after the procedure and seeking medical attention immediately if the site turns red and/or painful., "Kylie Jenner Pierces 5-Month-Old Daughter Stormi's Ears: How Safe Is the Procedure for Babies?," 12 July 2018 Isaacs himself was also very much a symbol of Trump-era policies, his tweets having drawn attention for anti-Muslim sentiment, disbelief in climate change, and support for Trump’s wall on the southern border. Haidee Chu, The New Republic, "The U.S. loses leadership of the International Organization for Migration.," 29 June 2018 Not too long ago, Camila also took the time to draw attention to the important issue of stigmatizing eating disorders. Noelle Devoe, Seventeen, "Camila Mendes From "Riverdale" Opens About Struggling With an Eating Disorder," 3 July 2018 The appointees’ incendiary posts had long been a headache for HHS, which received heightened attention after a Politico report. Bradford Betz, Fox News, "HHS departures signal new secretary's 'no-nonsense' approach: report," 14 July 2018 It is forced to pick which problems to focus on, with building collapse a recurring problem that the institute thinks warrants attention. Mike Hendricks, kansascity, "In a tragic loop, firefighters continue to die from preventable mistakes," 13 July 2018 In February 2018 — when the Rob Porter scandal brought public attention to the White House’s profligate abuse of interim security clearances — Kushner still hadn’t secured the bureau’s seal of approval. Eric Levitz, Daily Intelligencer, "The CIA Still Doesn’t Trust Jared Kushner With Its Most Sensitive Intelligence," 13 July 2018 Never has an inflatable gotten such international media attention. Karla Adam, Washington Post, "Meet the brains behind the ‘Trump Baby’ balloon," 13 July 2018 Adding to the drama, a former co-worker at the Cardinals hacked Astro accounts and leaked almost a year’s worth of company transcripts, jealous because of the attention the team was receiving. Matthew Wilson, USA TODAY, "'Astroball': How the Houston Astros climbed from baseball's basement to champions," 13 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'attention.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of attention

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for attention

Middle English attencioun, from Latin attention-, attentio, from attendere — see attend

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Statistics for attention

Last Updated

14 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for attention

The first known use of attention was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for attention



English Language Learners Definition of attention

: the act or power of carefully thinking about, listening to, or watching someone or something

: notice, interest, or awareness

: special care or treatment


at·ten·tion | \ ə-ˈten-shən \

Kids Definition of attention

1 : the act or the power of fixing the mind on something : careful listening or watching Pay attention to what happens next.

2 : notice, interest, or awareness attract attention

3 : careful thinking about something so as to be able to take action on it This matter requires immediate attention.

4 : special care or treatment His scrape did not require medical attention.

5 : an act of kindness or politeness His hospitable attentions were brief … being confined to a shake of a hand … —Washington Irving, “Sleepy Hollow”

6 : the way a soldier stands with the body stiff and straight, heels together, and arms at the sides


at·ten·tion | \ ə-ˈten-chən \

Medical Definition of attention 

1 : the act or state of attending : the application of the mind to any object of sense or thought

2a : an organismic condition of selective awareness or perceptual receptivity specifically : the complex of neuromuscular adjustments that permit maximum excitability or responsiveness to a given class of stimuli

b : the process of focusing consciousness to produce greater vividness and clarity of certain of its contents relative to others

Other words from attention

attentional \-ˈtench-nəl, -ˈten-chən-ᵊl \ adjective

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Comments on attention

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to make amends

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