in·​at·​ten·​tive | \ ˌi-nə-ˈten-tiv How to pronounce inattentive (audio) \

Definition of inattentive

: not attentive : not paying attention

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Other Words from inattentive

inattentively adverb
inattentiveness noun

Examples of inattentive in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The deputy said this was his first time dealing with an inattentive driver operating an autonomous vehicle. Hannah Sarisohn And Keith Allen, CNN, 19 May 2021 First and foremost, the driver might go nuts and become inattentive to the roadway, including potentially swerving the car while trying to swat the bugs. Lance Eliot, Forbes, 10 May 2021 With few exceptions, his new students struck him as ill-read, shallow, inattentive to interior things. Sohrab Ahmari, WSJ, 7 May 2021 In the 1980s, a debate emerged among ADHD researchers as to whether two subtypes of ADHD, called predominantly hyperactive/impulsive and predominantly inattentive, could actually be separate disorders. Rebecca Sohn, STAT, 14 Apr. 2021 Because June and Lincoln had always worked long hours—first at the battery plant in Milpitas, and then later at the cleaners—Alice spent most of her childhood with a series of inattentive Chinese nannies, who traded low wages for room and board. Ew Staff,, 27 Apr. 2021 Today, that paint—having aged poorly—is often mistaken as original by inattentive collectors. Robert Ross, Robb Report, 26 Apr. 2021 Potential catastrophe insidiously lies in wait--a handful of loose gravel, a wet pavement, a missing helmet, surrounding traffic, random animals and inattentive vehicle drivers. Mike Masterson, Arkansas Online, 17 Apr. 2021 Only a very inattentive friend could confuse this set with sweats. Katharine K. Zarrella, WSJ, 24 Apr. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'inattentive.' 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 inattentive

1692, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for inattentive

Time Traveler

The first known use of inattentive was in 1692

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Statistics for inattentive

Last Updated

14 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Inattentive.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for inattentive


in·​at·​ten·​tive | \ ˌi-nə-ˈten-tiv How to pronounce inattentive (audio) \

Kids Definition of inattentive

: not paying attention an inattentive student

Other Words from inattentive

inattentively adverb


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