attention span


Definition of attention span

: the length of time during which one (such as an individual or a group) is able to concentrate or remain interested

Examples of attention span in a Sentence

people with short attention spans
Recent Examples on the Web Social media, for all its flibberty-gibberty attention span, doesn’t put an expiration date on grief. Laura Lippman, Longreads, "The Art of Losing Friends and Alienating People," 8 Nov. 2019 A decade later, Frank's warnings of waning attention spans seem to have come true: Tracks on the Billboard Hot 100 in 2019 are, on average, 30 seconds shorter than in 2018. Glenn Peoples, Billboard, "Remembering Jay Frank, a Thought Leader Who Led the Industry to Trust Data," 17 Oct. 2019 Meanwhile, the explosion of television and media options fracture our attention span unlike any time in human history. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Column: XFL, Browns, Nebraska football signal everything old is new again in 2019," 23 Aug. 2019 In many cases, established or legacy brands survive in this cultural minefield, while small brands struggle, because large brands can still buy our attention spans, while small brands rely on word-of-mouth and influencer marketing. Alain Sylvain, Quartz at Work, "What happens when social media’s “cancel culture” misses the point?," 1 Aug. 2019 Many lawmakers perhaps first heard of the company when a Facebook executive pointed to its rise at a hearing this year as evidence that Facebook didn’t hold a monopoly on people’s attention spans online. Drew Harwell, Washington Post, "TikTok’s Beijing roots fuel censorship suspicion as it builds a huge U.S. audience," 15 Sep. 2019 But a crucial factor is a president whose fleeting attention span, impatience with policy details and appetite for personal feuds and news media controversies make for a limited interest in traditional legislating and regulating. Michael Crowley, New York Times, "Trump Heads Into 2020 With No Clear Policy Agenda. But It May Not Matter.," 4 Sep. 2019 On Monday at White Box Live Arts, the Flux Quartet presented an ear-stretching program that tested attention spans in some parts and in others dared listeners to accept a variety of sounds that many would consider noise. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Review: At Fresh Sound concert, Flux Quartet challenges listeners with daring works," 7 Aug. 2019 Innovating with video Given the general trend of shortening attention spans, short-form videos have been emerging as a popular media format in recent times. Sangeeta Tanwar, Quartz India, "TV anchor Vikram Chandra bets on AI-powered short videos to fix India’s broken news scene," 29 July 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'attention span.' 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 span

1903, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for attention span

Time Traveler

The first known use of attention span was in 1903

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Statistics for attention span

Last Updated

27 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Attention span.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 9 December 2019.

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More Definitions for attention span

attention span


English Language Learners Definition of attention span

: the length of time during which someone is able to think about or remain interested in something

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