focus

noun
fo·​cus | \ ˈfō-kəs How to pronounce focus (audio) \
plural foci\ ˈfō-​ˌsī How to pronounce focus (audio) also  -​ˌkī \ also focuses

Definition of focus

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a center of activity, attraction, or attention the focus of the meeting was drug abuse put immigration into focus as a hot topic for commentators
b : a point of concentration
2 : directed attention : emphasis The focus is on helping the homeless.
3a : direction sense 6c the team lost focus
b : a state or condition permitting clear perception or understanding tried to bring the issues into focus
c : adjustment for distinct vision also : the area that may be seen distinctly or resolved into a clear image
4a : a point at which rays (as of light, heat, or sound) converge or from which they diverge or appear to diverge specifically : the point where the geometrical lines or their prolongations conforming to the rays diverging from or converging toward another point intersect and give rise to an image after reflection by a mirror or refraction by a lens or optical system
b : a point of convergence (see convergence sense 1) of a beam of particles (such as electrons)
5 : one of the fixed points that with the corresponding directrix defines a conic section
6 : a localized area of disease or the chief site of a generalized disease or infection
7 : the place of origin of an earthquake or moonquake
in focus
: having or giving the proper sharpness of outline due to good focusing get the binoculars in focus
out of focus
: not in focus

focus

verb
focused also focussed; focusing also focussing

Definition of focus (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to cause to be concentrated focused their attention on the most urgent problems
2a : to adjust the focus of (the eye, a lens, etc.) focus the telescope
b : to bring into focus The results of that research were focused for classroom presentation.
3 : to bring (something, such as light rays) to a focus : concentrate

intransitive verb

1 : to concentrate attention or effort focus on the most pressing needs
2 : to adjust one's eye or a camera to a particular range Newborn babies cannot focus for several months.
3 : to come to a focus : converge

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Other Words from focus

Noun

focusless \ ˈfō-​kəs-​ləs How to pronounce focus (audio) \ adjective

Verb

focusable \ ˈfō-​kə-​sə-​bəl How to pronounce focus (audio) \ adjective
focuser noun

Did you know?

The Latin word focus meant “hearth, fireplace.” In the scientific Latin of the 17th century, the word is used to refer to the point at which rays of light refracted by a lens converge. Because rays of sunlight when directed by a magnifying glass can produce enough heat to ignite paper, a word meaning “fireplace” is quite appropriate as a metaphor to describe their convergence point. From this sense of focus have arisen extended senses such as “center of activity.”

Examples of focus in a Sentence

Noun He's successful, but he feels that his life lacks focus. His life lacks a focus. Verb She has an amazing ability to focus for hours at a time. I wasn't able to focus the camera. I wasn't able to get the camera to focus.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Another $10 billion would go to university technology centers and innovation institutes to conduct research on the key focus areas. Katie Lobosco, CNN, 8 June 2021 The pandemic has made cash an even bigger focus for chief financial officers. Kristin Broughton, WSJ, 7 June 2021 The main focus for every WWDC edition is software, but Apple often does launch hardware products during the event. Chris Smith, BGR, 7 June 2021 The more the Reichs have dug into the issue, the more that technology has become a focus for prevention, as predators use apps, video game chat rooms and other technological advances to lure and exploit children. Joel A. Erickson, The Indianapolis Star, 4 June 2021 From a trend standpoint, the e-comm has edged out five key focus areas that will define the season as well as the content aimed at customer engagement. Roxanne Robinson, Forbes, 4 June 2021 The tips in it were based on information gleaned from local focus groups. Teri Figueroa, San Diego Union-Tribune, 3 June 2021 Those three states have been Auburn’s main focus for years since the school sits close to the Georgia and Florida borders. al, 3 June 2021 The focus for the state’s vaccination campaign would be on small, more focused clinics. Meredith Cohn, baltimoresun.com, 2 June 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Some educators used social media to document the high temperatures in the classrooms as students focus on final exams. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, 9 June 2021 The White House says this trip will focus on America's commitment to rallying world democracies and defending shared values. Kathryn Watson, CBS News, 9 June 2021 The survey will help focus that paid internship program, Cortes said. Bill Jones, chicagotribune.com, 9 June 2021 Pick one physical sensation of breathing to focus on, said Patricia Rockman, director of education and clinical services at the Centre for Mindfulness Studies in Toronto. Jen Rose Smith, CNN, 8 June 2021 Avila-Guillen said that lawyers and advocates will now focus on clearing her name. Washington Post, 8 June 2021 This means the business can focus energies on motivating the team and gradually introducing new ideas and changes. Carl Hung, Forbes, 8 June 2021 Buscaino is expected to focus his campaign on quality of life through improving public safety and addressing homelessness, FOX 11 of Los Angeles reported. David Aaro, Fox News, 8 June 2021 The tour will include 15 murals in Cleveland, Lakewood and Cleveland Heights -- one of which will focus on Stanley, who died on March 6. Anne Nickoloff, cleveland, 8 June 2021

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

Noun

1664, in the meaning defined at sense 4a

Verb

1807, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for focus

Noun and Verb

New Latin, from Latin, hearth

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Learn More About focus

Statistics for focus

Last Updated

11 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Focus.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/focus. Accessed 18 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for focus

focus

noun

English Language Learners Definition of focus

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a subject that is being discussed or studied : the subject on which people's attention is focused
: a main purpose or interest
technical : a point at which rays of light, heat, or sound meet or from which they move apart or appear to move apart especially : the point at which an image is formed by a mirror, a lens, etc.

focus

verb

English Language Learners Definition of focus (Entry 2 of 2)

: to cause (something, such as attention) to be directed at something specific
: to direct your attention or effort at something specific
: to adjust (something, such as a lens or a camera) to make an image clear

focus

noun
fo·​cus | \ ˈfō-kəs How to pronounce focus (audio) \
plural foci\ ˈfō-​ˌsī \ also focuses

Kids Definition of focus

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a point at which rays (as of light, heat, or sound) meet after being reflected or bent : the point at which an image is formed
2 : the distance from a lens or mirror to a focus
3 : an adjustment that gives clear vision He turned his head almost upside down to get a more acute focus on her …— Jean Craighead George, Julie of the Wolves
4 : a center of activity or interest Fractions are the focus of this lesson.

focus

verb
focused also focussed; focusing also focussing

Kids Definition of focus (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to bring or come to a focus focus rays of light
2 : to adjust the focus of He focused his binoculars.
3 : to direct or cause to direct at Focus your attention here.

focus

noun
fo·​cus | \ ˈfō-kəs How to pronounce focus (audio) \
plural foci\ ˈfō-​ˌsī also -​ˌkī \ also focuses

Medical Definition of focus

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a point at which rays (as of light, heat, or sound) converge or from which they diverge or appear to diverge specifically : the point where the geometrical lines or their prolongations conforming to the rays diverging from or converging toward another point intersect and give rise to an image after reflection by a mirror or refraction by a lens or optical system
b : a point of convergence of a beam of particles (as electrons)
b : adjustment for distinct vision also : the area that may be seen distinctly or resolved into a clear image
3 : a localized area of disease or the chief site of a generalized disease or infection

focus

verb
focused also focussed; focusing also focussing

Medical Definition of focus (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to bring (as light rays) to a focus
2a : to adjust the focus of (as the eye or a lens)
b : to bring (as an image) into focus

intransitive verb

1 : to come to a focus
2 : to adjust one's eye or a camera to a particular range

Other Words from focus

focusable \ -​kəs-​ə-​bəl How to pronounce focus (audio) \ adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on focus

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for focus

Nglish: Translation of focus for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of focus for Arabic Speakers

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