focus

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

Essential Meaning of focus

1 : a subject that is being discussed or studied : the subject on which people's attention is focused
2 : a main purpose or interest He's successful, but he feels that his life lacks focus. His life lacks a focus.
3 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.

Full 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 New defensive coordinator Lovie Smith’s focus on takeaways paid off in the opener. cleveland, 13 Sep. 2021 So, no different: focus, preparation, mentality, handling adversity, responding properly. Tom Green | Tgreen@al.com, al, 13 Sep. 2021 Humans typically move this fovea, the focus of our vision, two or three times a second while tracking something of interest. Joshua Learn | Inside Science, ABC News, 12 Sep. 2021 New defensive coordinator Lovie Smith's focus on takeaways paid off in the opener. Kristie Rieken, ajc, 12 Sep. 2021 Selecting what to exhibit must have been a profile in courage, stamina, focus, and discipline. Brian T. Allen, National Review, 11 Sep. 2021 Some CDOs’ responsibilities include analytics, some focus on visualization, some only engineering and some do infrastructure. Kaycee Lai, Forbes, 9 Sep. 2021 In a sense, the details of this turnover exemplify the Spurs’ franchise-wide focus on development. Mike Finger, San Antonio Express-News, 9 Sep. 2021 After being stuck behind seniors on the depth chart in 2020, an offseason focus on route running and going up for the ball has helped Mizell elevate his game. J.c. Carnahan, orlandosentinel.com, 9 Sep. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb To succeed, brands must focus on a holistic approach to delight customers, staying relevant to the customer’s changing preferences and crafting a seamless cross-channel experience that creates a lasting connection. Raviteja Dodda, Forbes, 13 Sep. 2021 Instead of reliving the trauma, Webb could focus on her firstborn. BostonGlobe.com, 13 Sep. 2021 The measures focus on requests for eateries to close early and not serve alcohol. Compiled Democrat-gazette Staff From Wire Reports, Arkansas Online, 13 Sep. 2021 For adults generally, national guidelines focus on time spent on an activity rather than number of steps, recommending 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity activity like walking. Linda Searing, Anchorage Daily News, 12 Sep. 2021 The Colts must focus on slowing down the top two Seahawks receivers. Joel A. Erickson, The Indianapolis Star, 11 Sep. 2021 Most mobile games focus on how to part you from your cash. Simon Hill, Wired, 10 Sep. 2021 One such additional space, for example, could focus on coffee. Tamara Palmer, San Francisco Chronicle, 10 Sep. 2021 Most SaaS companies focus on global clients, similar to the strategy that was followed by India's IT giants such as TCS and Infosys (INFY). Diksha Madhok, CNN, 9 Sep. 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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Dictionary Entries Near focus

focht

focus

focus group

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for focus

Last Updated

15 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Focus.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/focus. Accessed 20 Sep. 2021.

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More Definitions for focus

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

Nglish: Translation of focus for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of focus for Arabic Speakers

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