attention

noun
at·​ten·​tion | \ ə-ˈten(t)-shən How to pronounce attention (audio) , 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 \ ə-​ˈten(t)-​sh(ə-​)nəl How to pronounce attentional (audio) \ adjective

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 People can go out to buy groceries or medicine, get fuel or medical attention, walk the dog, or hike for exercise. Kathleen Gray, Detroit Free Press, "Businesses, police in Michigan face confusion on first day of 'stay home' order," 24 Mar. 2020 Although antibiotic resistance haven’t gotten our attention in the same way that SARS-CoV-2 has, antibiotic-resistant bacteria present a growing global menace. Julie L. Gerberding, STAT, "Antibiotic resistance: the hidden threat lurking behind Covid-19," 23 Mar. 2020 The gripping novel by Celeste Ng was beloved by book clubs everywhere, and even caught the attention of some pretty big names. Megan Stein, Country Living, "OMG We Need to Know Who Started the Fire in 'Little Fires Everywhere'," 21 Mar. 2020 Do some deep breathing, pet them calmly, and make sure to give them your full, undivided attention at least 15 minutes per day, to soothe both them and yourself. Luann Gibbs, Cincinnati.com, "Tips for caring for your pet during the pandemic," 20 Mar. 2020 That, more than any particular misjudgment and more than the sheer fact of disruption in our lives, is what appears to require attention, criticism, and correction. Yuval Levin, National Review, "Washington’s Response to the Virus," 18 Mar. 2020 Pay attention to social cues and go with the flow today. oregonlive, "Horoscope for March 16, 2020: Capricorn, save your money; Cancer, avoid major purchase," 16 Mar. 2020 Many traders and policy makers pay particular attention to the US yield curve—the gap between short-term and long-term Treasury bond yields—for clues that the world’s biggest economy could tip into recession. John Detrixhe, Quartz, "Yield-curve pioneer says coronavirus “completely changed the story” for the US economy," 11 Mar. 2020 The app has become a major platform for brands looking to monetize user attention, especially that of Gen Z audiences. Alexandria Williams, Quartz Africa, "TikTok is quietly snapping up creatives from YouTube and Instagram for a full Africa roll-out," 10 Mar. 2020

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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Time Traveler for attention

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for attention

Last Updated

29 Mar 2020

Cite this Entry

“Attention.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/attention. Accessed 1 Apr. 2020.

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More Definitions for attention

attention

noun
How to pronounce attention (audio)

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

attention

noun
at·​ten·​tion | \ ə-ˈten-shən How to pronounce attention (audio) \

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

attention

noun
at·​ten·​tion | \ ə-ˈten-chən How to pronounce attention (audio) \

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 How to pronounce attentional (audio) \ adjective

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Comments on attention

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