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 If the ultimate goal is to reduce how human drivers cause harm with their inattention or slow reflexes, our immediate future is more like a pair of great eyeglasses than a full robot suit. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, "Elon Musk Says His Teslas Can Be Superhuman," 9 Apr. 2020 As a direct and proximate result of the carelessness, inattention and negligence of the defendant ..., "A roofing contractor’s negligence caused part of a metal railing to fall four stories at a North End construction site and crush a woman’s skull as she was walking with her husband, leaving her with “permanent personal injuries,” her attorneys said in a lawsuit filed Thursday.," 8 Nov. 2019 While trade can promote that goal, especially by driving down costs, allowing Chinese dominance in masks was a mistake (probably one made out of inattention more than ideology). Nr Editors, National Review, "The Week," 2 Apr. 2020 The New York Civil Liberties Union, one of those groups, described recent incidents in which an employee’s negligence, even inattention, had disastrous consequences for class members. Benjamin Weiser, New York Times, "Beatings, Burns and Betrayal: The Willowbrook Scandal’s Legacy," 21 Feb. 2020 Four contributing factors were listed on those reports in about half of crashes that killed pedestrians and cyclists last year: driver inattention or distraction, failure to yield, disregarding traffic signals or signs and unsafe speed. New York Times, "More Pedestrians and Cyclists are Dying in N.Y.C. Drivers are Often to Blame.," 10 Mar. 2020 The safety board pinned some of that inattention on the design of Tesla Autopilot, which uses the amount of torque applied to the steering wheel as a sign that the driver is sufficiently engaged in driving. Aarian Marshall, Wired, "A Safety Board Faults Tesla and Regulators in a Fatal 2018 Crash," 25 Feb. 2020 The most common causes are intoxication, inattention or assault. Washington Post, "‘Nothing short of a miracle’: How firefighters saved woman trapped under a train," 25 Jan. 2020 In fact, inattention could prove to be a better predictor of future educational and occupational success than the marshmallow test. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "New twist on marshmallow test: Kids depend on each other for self control," 21 Jan. 2020

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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Time Traveler for inattention

Time Traveler

The first known use of inattention was circa 1670

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Statistics for inattention

Last Updated

23 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Inattention.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 May. 2020.

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More Definitions for inattention


How to pronounce inattention (audio)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for inattention

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with inattention

Spanish Central: Translation of inattention

Nglish: Translation of inattention for Spanish Speakers

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