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

On the court, poor shot selection and an occasional inattention to defensive detail have been sticking points., "Who could the Spurs take in the NBA Draft?," 15 June 2019 Maybe it’s inattention, given that the Justice Department’s top personnel have lately been, well, distracted. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "Trump’s Obama-Style Bank Heist," 18 Nov. 2018 If late decision is due to inattention, then perhaps there is a case for more lopsided results. Dylan Scott, Vox, "Six important facts about the voters still undecided in the 2018 midterms.," 22 Oct. 2018 At the same time, there have been tremendous setbacks, such as the failure to repeal Obamacare as promised and near constant headaches from Trump’s inattention to the legislative agenda. Philip Elliott, Time, "Paul Ryan's Unexpected Exit Is a Warning Sign for Republicans," 11 Apr. 2018 In a study of 2015 data, the state’s Institute for Traffic Safety Management and Research found that 160 people were killed and more than 33,000 injured in crashes in which a driver’s inattention was a factor. Sarah Maslin Nir, New York Times, "Eyes on the Road: New York State Police Are Cracking Down on Distracted Drivers," 13 Apr. 2018 The main culprits: alcohol consumption, drugs, fatigue, inattention, and speed. Tony Bizjak, sacbee, "Here's your Fourth of July playbook for the Sacramento region," 3 July 2018 State and local law enforcement have stated that these incidents are a clear indication of driver inattention. Fiza Pirani, ajc, "Driving in Atlanta is painful — but it’s far from the worst," 11 July 2018 Griping about inattention from Washington, D.C., is a longtime mayoral pastime designed to help extract dollars from the federal government. WSJ, "Jetpacks and Tech-Enabled Cities: How We’ll Live in the Future," 9 May 2018

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.

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First Known Use of inattention

circa 1670, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for inattention

Last Updated

21 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for inattention

The first known use of inattention was circa 1670

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English Language Learners Definition of inattention

: failure to carefully think about, listen to, or watch someone or something : lack of attention


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.

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More from Merriam-Webster on inattention

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with inattention

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for inattention

Spanish Central: Translation of inattention

Nglish: Translation of inattention for Spanish Speakers

Comments on inattention

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