in·​at·​ten·​tion ˌi-nə-ˈten(t)-shən How to pronounce inattention (audio)
: failure to pay attention

Examples of inattention in a Sentence

Many traffic accidents are the result of driver inattention. They lost several potential clients through their inattention to detail.
Recent Examples on the Web All too often when speaking of Cronin the emphasis is on how his teams play defense; rarely is a word mentioned about the inattention paid to the offense. Los Angeles Times, 22 Dec. 2023 Peeling and fading in places, but admirably preserved amid the blight that time and inattention have wrought, the murals stand out starkly, even ominously. Sam McManis, Sacramento Bee, 31 Jan. 2024 In 2021, four years after Haley left office, her state was forced to come to terms with the consequences of its inattention to maternal health. Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times, 26 Jan. 2024 But copyright law and the inattention and lack of technological knowledge on the federal bench have combined to create an unlevel playing field on which small-time infringers or innocent targets can get trampled. Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times, 12 Dec. 2023 The number of adults being diagnosed with ADHD — a neurodevelopmental psychiatric disorder characterized by inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity — is increasing rapidly in the U.S. Angela Roberts, Hartford Courant, 13 Jan. 2024 But even a moment’s inattention can lead to gaffes. Varun Shankar,, 3 Aug. 2023 By telling its customers its cars are almost self-driving and designing them without guardrails, Tesla induces inattention only to blame the victim. Ed Niedermeyer, Rolling Stone, 17 Dec. 2023 But the 2019 crash reveals a problem deeper than driver inattention. Jeremy B. Merrill, Washington Post, 10 Dec. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'inattention.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

circa 1670, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of inattention was circa 1670

Dictionary Entries Near inattention

Cite this Entry

“Inattention.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


in·​at·​ten·​tion ˌin-ə-ˈten-chən How to pronounce inattention (audio)
: failure to pay attention
inattentively adverb
inattentiveness noun

More from Merriam-Webster on inattention

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