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[uh-ten-tiv] /əˈtɛn tɪv/
characterized by or giving attention; observant:
an attentive audience.
thoughtful of others; considerate; polite; courteous:
an attentive host.
Origin of attentive
late Middle English
1375-1425; late Middle English (Scots) < Middle French; see attent, -ive
Related forms
attentively, adverb
attentiveness, noun
overattentive, adjective
overattentively, adverb
overattentiveness, noun
unattentive, adjective
unattentively, adverb
unattentiveness, noun
1. heedful, mindful, aware, alert, awake, watchful.
1. indifferent, apathetic, unconcerned. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
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Examples from the Web for attentive
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Ricardo waited, attentive, yet not without a certain contempt.

    Victory Joseph Conrad
  • That he should be attentive is natural, that he should be affected is repellent to my notions.

    The Blue Wall Richard Washburn Child
  • I need not tell you how attentive the Romans and Greeks, particularly the Athenians, were to this object.

  • It was very ungrateful of her, for he had gone out of his way to be polite and attentive to her.

    The Talking Horse F. Anstey
  • Alfred was attentive to her, of course, but not foolishly attentive, this afternoon.

    A Bride from the Bush E. W. (Ernest William) Hornung
British Dictionary definitions for attentive


paying attention; listening carefully; observant
(postpositive) often foll by to. careful to fulfil the needs or wants (of); considerate (about): she was always attentive to his needs
Derived Forms
attentively, adverb
attentiveness, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for attentive

late 14c. (implied in attentively), from Old French attentif, from Vulgar Latin *attenditus, from Latin attentus "heedful, observant" (see attend). Sense of "actively ministering to the needs and wants" (of another person) is from early 16c. Related: Attentively.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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