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

Other Words from attention

attentional \ ə-​ˈten(t)-​sh(ə-​)nəl How to pronounce attention (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms for attention



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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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web Next year’s inaugural race in Las Vegas, which was announced in late March, is already drawing a lot of interest and attention according to Domenicali despite no concrete date set for the Saturday evening race in November. Michael Loré, Forbes, 6 May 2022 Many people at Thursday's gathering, including Schreiber Schinko and Scott-Haney, called for more media attention and more law enforcement resources directed to cases of missing or killed Indigenous people. Sarah Volpenhein, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 6 May 2022 There was no need for Rihanna cosplay or bids for attention beyond posing for a few pictures. Janelle Okwodu, Vogue, 6 May 2022 Decisions to donate money or attention often result from conscious deliberation that takes time. David P. Barash, WSJ, 6 May 2022 And yet even with all the benefits and attention the Trump administration showered on Saudi Arabia, caution on recognition of Israel and joining the Abraham Accords prevailed. Aaron David Miller, CNN, 5 May 2022 In this southwest Michigan kitchen, part of the main living area in Elizabeth and Chris Fisher's new home, polished stainless steel grabs attention like a matinee idol. Sally Finder Weepie, Better Homes & Gardens, 5 May 2022 Their growing audience has granted them attention and opportunities to work with brands such as Google, Adobe, Volkswagen, Reese’s, Dell, Chips Ahoy, Fender and more. Mary Colurso |, al, 5 May 2022 Zumkehr added that having deficient staffing only exacerbates problems when dealing with inmates who have violent histories and mental health needs and aren’t getting the full attention and programs to help with rehabilitation. Erik Ortiz, NBC News, 5 May 2022 See More

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.

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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Dictionary Entries Near attention



attention deficit disorder

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Statistics for attention

Last Updated

9 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Attention.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for attention


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


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 attention (audio) \ adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on attention

Nglish: Translation of attention for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of attention for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about attention


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