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 After getting sober 17 years ago, Giammanco said the Sky and couture fashion are now his focus for spending money, along with donating to the Sky’s charity. Mariah Rush, chicagotribune.com, 17 Oct. 2021 Itto and Gorou will be in one banner together, the other banner is going to be an Albedo re-run, so a Geo focus for this entire update. Paul Tassi, Forbes, 15 Oct. 2021 Concerns about inflation and how price pressures might affect central bank policy, consumer spending and corporate profits remain a key focus for investors, and economists have been trimming economic growth estimates in response. Yuri Kageyama, ajc, 14 Oct. 2021 The company is working on sourcing a biodegradable alternative to the synthetic rubber, but its main focus for now is carbon capture. Alden Wicker, Wired, 13 Oct. 2021 Equity at Work: Fulfilling Its Promise through Process was based on findings from virtual focus groups, one-on-one interviews, and an online survey of some 4,410 knowledge workers. Ellen Mcgirt, Fortune, 12 Oct. 2021 The night sky is the focus for Nov. 22, followed by evergreen plants and trees on Dec. 20. Joan Rusek, cleveland, 11 Oct. 2021 This youth center becomes a focus for a bunch of different stories. Sydney Bucksbaum, EW.com, 8 Oct. 2021 Masuch points to digital opportunities and social media as a broader focus for Turner’s music as BMG looks to reintroduce her hits to a younger generation of potential fans in the streaming era. Ethan Millman, Rolling Stone, 5 Oct. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Manufacturers must now focus on what electric cars do best. Neil Winton, Forbes, 19 Oct. 2021 This phase could focus on electrical or plumbing work. Nushrat Rahman, Detroit Free Press, 19 Oct. 2021 The institute will focus on four areas the singer and actress is most passionate about: the public sphere, climate change, intimacy and power between men and women, and the impact of art on the culture, according to a press release. Chloe Melas, CNN, 18 Oct. 2021 The fifth in a series of virtual forums sponsored by the Hebron Coalition on Diversity and Equity (CoDE) will focus on How to be an Ally. Melanie Savage, courant.com, 18 Oct. 2021 To begin with, the rangers would focus on Liberty, Pioneer, Jordan and Fairmont parks, as well as the Jordan River Parkway. Matt Canham, The Salt Lake Tribune, 18 Oct. 2021 And many of his late stories focus on the private lives of men and women who were—like Barthelme and his various partners—lively, sad, lost, gentle, angry, and always searching for the next relationship or story. Scott Bradfield, The New Republic, 18 Oct. 2021 Composable, or modular, organizations focus more on customer metrics such as customer satisfaction as opposed to execution metrics such as on-time IT or tech delivery. John Mccormick, WSJ, 18 Oct. 2021 Our policies and budget must focus on learning as well as social-emotional recovery. Washington Post, 16 Oct. 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

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Statistics for focus

Last Updated

21 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Focus.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/focus. Accessed 26 Oct. 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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