in·​at·​ten·​tion | \ ˌi-nə-ˈten(t)-shən How to pronounce inattention (audio) \

Definition of inattention

: 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 Many of us will continue to struggle with inattention, impulsivity and hyperactivity while navigating this painfully distracting and traumatising world. Dr Sanah Ahsan,, 6 June 2022 Folk etymology holds that these two idioms, which in different ways imply inattention to more important tasks, arose from the same situation – someone assigning busywork to others, to prevent them from being idle. Melissa Mohr, The Christian Science Monitor, 11 July 2022 Usually, doctors are trained to attribute rambunctiousness and inattention to ADHD, but it’s been found that Black girls are usually cast off as just being defiant and lazy. Jasmine Browley, Essence, 5 July 2022 Items that get posted on the Internet can potentially rear their ugly heads repeatedly, time not being a barrier and nor inattention. Lance Eliot, Forbes, 29 Dec. 2021 Proper parenting would result in a well-mannered adult Tamagotchi, while inattention would result in a delinquent. Michelle Delgado, Smithsonian Magazine, 22 Dec. 2021 While Sandberg bolstered her progressive bonafides with Lean In, her tome has since lost some luster, weathered by its inattention to structural inequality. Jacob Carpenter, Fortune, 2 June 2022 Clive has zero patience for restlessness and inattention during his marathon presentations. Jem Aswad, Variety, 7 Apr. 2022 Prosecutors said his parents’ inattention to the boy’s medical needs over the years after the transplant caused his death. Clifford Ward, Chicago Tribune, 3 May 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'inattention.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of inattention

circa 1670, in the meaning defined above

Learn More About inattention

Time Traveler for inattention

Time Traveler

The first known use of inattention was circa 1670

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near inattention

in attendance



See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for inattention

Last Updated

12 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Inattention.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Aug. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for inattention


in·​at·​ten·​tion | \ ˌi-nə-ˈten-shən How to pronounce inattention (audio) \

Kids Definition of inattention

: failure to pay attention The accident resulted from the driver's inattention.

More from Merriam-Webster on inattention

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for inattention

Nglish: Translation of inattention for Spanish Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Challenging Words You Should Know

  • hedgehog reading a book
  • Often used to describe “the march of time,” what does inexorable mean?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!