focus

noun
fo·​cus | \ ˈfō-kəs How to pronounce focus (audio) \
plural foci\ ˈfō-​ˌsī How to pronounce focus (audio) also  -​ˌkī \ also focuses

Definition of focus

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a center of activity, attraction, or attention the focus of the meeting was drug abuse put immigration into focus as a hot topic for commentators
b : a point of concentration
2 : directed attention : emphasis The focus is on helping the homeless.
3a : direction sense 6c the team lost focus
b : a state or condition permitting clear perception or understanding tried to bring the issues into focus
c : adjustment for distinct vision also : the area that may be seen distinctly or resolved into a clear image
4a : a point at which rays (as of light, heat, or sound) converge or from which they diverge or appear to diverge specifically : the point where the geometrical lines or their prolongations conforming to the rays diverging from or converging toward another point intersect and give rise to an image after reflection by a mirror or refraction by a lens or optical system
b : a point of convergence (see convergence sense 1) of a beam of particles (such as electrons)
5 : one of the fixed points that with the corresponding directrix defines a conic section
6 : a localized area of disease or the chief site of a generalized disease or infection
7 : the place of origin of an earthquake or moonquake
in focus
: having or giving the proper sharpness of outline due to good focusing get the binoculars in focus
out of focus
: not in focus

focus

verb
focused also focussed; focusing also focussing

Definition of focus (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to cause to be concentrated focused their attention on the most urgent problems
2a : to adjust the focus of (the eye, a lens, etc.) focus the telescope
b : to bring into focus The results of that research were focused for classroom presentation.
3 : to bring (something, such as light rays) to a focus : concentrate

intransitive verb

1 : to concentrate attention or effort focus on the most pressing needs
2 : to adjust one's eye or a camera to a particular range Newborn babies cannot focus for several months.
3 : to come to a focus : converge

Other Words from focus

Noun

focusless \ ˈfō-​kəs-​ləs How to pronounce focus (audio) \ adjective

Verb

focusable \ ˈfō-​kə-​sə-​bəl How to pronounce focus (audio) \ adjective
focuser noun

Did you know?

The Latin word focus meant “hearth, fireplace.” In the scientific Latin of the 17th century, the word is used to refer to the point at which rays of light refracted by a lens converge. Because rays of sunlight when directed by a magnifying glass can produce enough heat to ignite paper, a word meaning “fireplace” is quite appropriate as a metaphor to describe their convergence point. From this sense of focus have arisen extended senses such as “center of activity.”

Examples of focus in a Sentence

Noun He's successful, but he feels that his life lacks focus. His life lacks a focus. Verb She has an amazing ability to focus for hours at a time. I wasn't able to focus the camera. I wasn't able to get the camera to focus.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The serpent, once the main focus of the lead characters, recedes from view, as the personal journeys and relationships between the characters come to the fore. Angie Han, The Hollywood Reporter, 12 May 2022 Saturday, May 7: The focus shifted to environmental science involving researchers from the Dauphin Island Sea Lab, who gathered data on the life around and in the wreck, from bacteria to bigger creatures such as worms and crabs. al, 12 May 2022 First details released from the report focus on a disconnect whose repercussions will play over Europe this year. John Hopewell, Variety, 12 May 2022 The focus on the formula crisis dovetailed with the message Republicans hoped would win them victories in November: that Mr. Biden and Democrats have been feckless on issues like inflation and rising gas prices that matter most to regular Americans. New York Times, 12 May 2022 Eyes are forward with a focus on the future, not the past. Washington Post, 11 May 2022 How is, or was, Vizrt’s focus different from that of NewTek? Richard Webner, San Antonio Express-News, 11 May 2022 Musk’s calls for free speech on Twitter focus on two allegations: political bias and excessive moderation. Filippo Menczer, The Conversation, 9 May 2022 Asked by state school board members what will happen once the federal relief runs out, Torres-Rodriguez said the intangibles — like mindset, and the focus on the whole student — will continue. Seamus Mcavoy, Hartford Courant, 8 May 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The Oregon Justice Resource Center, a legal nonprofit representing the plaintiffs, said repairs to the system shouldn't just focus on hiring more public defenders. Gillian Flaccus, USA TODAY, 17 May 2022 In the upcoming fiscal year, the administration wants to create a new civilian response team for the police and hire an outreach and recruitment coordinator who will focus on underrepresented communities. Blake Apgar, The Salt Lake Tribune, 17 May 2022 The relationship between customers and company is a two-way street without filters or focus groups that allows customers to help drive the finished product, Muller said. cleveland, 16 May 2022 Nicola Coughlan confirmed the upcoming third season of Bridgerton will focus on the love story between her character Penelope Featherington and Colin Bridgerton (Luke Newton). Kelly Wynne, PEOPLE.com, 16 May 2022 Woohoo and Heartcount consult with psychologists and statisticians to ensure that their assessments focus on people’s emotional, rather than logical, responses to their work. New York Times, 16 May 2022 Heames said that the unmanned-vessels program, which will eventually include more than 100 sailors, will focus on coordinating autonomous craft into large fleet movements. Joshua Emerson Smith, San Diego Union-Tribune, 16 May 2022 The schools are smaller, with about 200 students in all of them combined, but that means teachers can focus on giving each student a personalized education, Piro said. Emma Stein, Detroit Free Press, 16 May 2022 The inquiry will help the agency craft rules, issue industry guidance, and focus supervision and enforcement resources to curb the excessive levying of these fees. Megan Leonhardt, Fortune, 16 May 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of focus

Noun

1664, in the meaning defined at sense 4a

Verb

1807, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for focus

Noun and Verb

New Latin, from Latin, hearth

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Dictionary Entries Near focus

focht

focus

focus group

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for focus

Last Updated

18 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Focus.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/focus. Accessed 23 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for focus

focus

noun
fo·​cus | \ ˈfō-kəs How to pronounce focus (audio) \
plural foci\ ˈfō-​ˌsī \ also focuses

Kids Definition of focus

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a point at which rays (as of light, heat, or sound) meet after being reflected or bent : the point at which an image is formed
2 : the distance from a lens or mirror to a focus
3 : an adjustment that gives clear vision He turned his head almost upside down to get a more acute focus on her …— Jean Craighead George, Julie of the Wolves
4 : a center of activity or interest Fractions are the focus of this lesson.

focus

verb
focused also focussed; focusing also focussing

Kids Definition of focus (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to bring or come to a focus focus rays of light
2 : to adjust the focus of He focused his binoculars.
3 : to direct or cause to direct at Focus your attention here.

focus

noun
fo·​cus | \ ˈfō-kəs How to pronounce focus (audio) \
plural foci\ ˈfō-​ˌsī also -​ˌkī \ also focuses

Medical Definition of focus

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a point at which rays (as of light, heat, or sound) converge or from which they diverge or appear to diverge specifically : the point where the geometrical lines or their prolongations conforming to the rays diverging from or converging toward another point intersect and give rise to an image after reflection by a mirror or refraction by a lens or optical system
b : a point of convergence of a beam of particles (as electrons)
b : adjustment for distinct vision also : the area that may be seen distinctly or resolved into a clear image
3 : a localized area of disease or the chief site of a generalized disease or infection

focus

verb
focused also focussed; focusing also focussing

Medical Definition of focus (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to bring (as light rays) to a focus
2a : to adjust the focus of (as the eye or a lens)
b : to bring (as an image) into focus

intransitive verb

1 : to come to a focus
2 : to adjust one's eye or a camera to a particular range

Other Words from focus

focusable \ -​kəs-​ə-​bəl How to pronounce focus (audio) \ adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on focus

Nglish: Translation of focus for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of focus for Arabic Speakers

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