Definition of attention in English:

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Pronunciation: /əˈtɛnʃ(ə)n/


[mass noun]
1Notice taken of someone or something; the regarding of someone or something as interesting or important: he drew attention to three spelling mistakes
More example sentences
  • He drew attention to three important interrelated factors which he regarded as peculiar to arbitration agreements.
  • Is that the only passage in which the trial judge drew attention to his interest in the outcome of the proceedings?
  • He also drew attention to the problem of the unacceptable level of absenteeism at the company's Carlow plant.
awareness, notice, observation, consciousness, heed, recognition, regard, scrutiny, surveillance, attentiveness;
curiosity, inquisitiveness
listen, be attentive, attend, concentrate on, concentrate on hearing, give ear to, lend an ear to;
hang on someone's words
1.1The mental faculty of considering or taking notice of someone or something: he turned his attention to the educational system
More example sentences
  • Not that such considerations made any difference when we turned our attention to the menu.
  • Rafael glanced at her for a second then turned his attention to the road again.
  • She merely dropped her smile, opened her folder and turned her attention to her schedule.
2The action of dealing with or taking special care of someone or something: her business needed her attention he was found guilty of failing to give a patient adequate medical attention
More example sentences
  • We help patients decide if a problem requires medical attention or even hospital care.
  • Anyone with a medical problem will then be provided with a referral for appropriate medical care and attention.
  • These patients require the same attention and care as those who meet all the criteria.
observation, attentiveness, intentness, notice, concentration, heed, heedfulness, mindfulness, regard, scrutiny;
contemplation, consideration, deliberation, thought, thinking, studying, investigation, action
care, treatment, therapy, ministration, succour, relief, support, aid, help, assistance, service
2.1 (attentions) Things done to express interest in or please someone: she felt flattered by his attentions
More example sentences
  • Obviously he was flattered at the attentions of such a young and attractive woman.
  • It felt good to be out and about and she wouldn't deny that she was flattered by Ollie's attentions.
  • Flattered by the attentions of the young lord, Antonello admits him to his studio.
courtesy, civility, politeness, respect, gallantry, urbanity, deference;
compliment, flattery, blandishment;
overture, suggestion, approach, suit, pass, wooing, courting
3 Military A position assumed by a soldier, standing very straight with the feet together and the arms straight down the sides of the body: Saunders stood stolidly to attention
More example sentences
  • Their eyes slowly roved over the group of soldiers standing at attention beyond the podium.
  • When we arrived a soldier stood at attention and bowed when the prince entered.
  • Two suits of armour stood to attention at the foot of a wide oak staircase.
3.1 [as exclamation] An order to assume a straight standing position.


pay attention

Take notice of someone or something: students used to know how to pay attention, even when the lecture was boring if you pay attention to one thing, you have to ignore something else you’ve never paid that much attention to her opinions
More example sentences
  • In my frantic sprint to reach the girl in time, I hadn't been paying attention to the ground below me.
  • No wonder big media have started to pay attention.
  • To avoid cuts, you've really got to pay attention.



Example sentences
  • Recognition of the role of attentional processes in overcoming disorientation suggests two further mechanisms that might potentially link anxiety and dizziness.
  • Neural growth results in improved attentional skills: adolescents can pay attention longer than children, and they can better ignore distractions.
  • Therefore, when children have mastered automaticity of handwriting, more attentional capacity is available for comprehension and problem solving.


Late Middle English: from Latin attentio(n-), from the verb attendere (see attend).

Words that rhyme with attention

abstention, apprehension, ascension, circumvention, comprehension, condescension, contention, contravention, convention, declension, detention, dimension, dissension, extension, gentian, hypertension, hypotension, intention, intervention, invention, mention, misapprehension, obtention, pension, prehension, prevention, recension, retention, subvention, supervention, suspension, tension

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: at¦ten|tion

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