[ noun uh-ten-shuhn; interjection uh-ten-shuhn ]
See synonyms for attention on
  1. the act or faculty of attending, especially by directing the mind to an object.

  2. Psychology.

    • a concentration of the mind on a single object or thought, especially one preferentially selected from a complex, with a view to limiting or clarifying receptivity by narrowing the range of stimuli.

    • a state of consciousness characterized by such concentration.

    • a capacity to maintain selective or sustained concentration.

  1. observant care; consideration: Individual attention is given to each child.

  2. civility or courtesy: attention to a guest.

  3. notice or awareness: His deliberate cough caught the waiter's attention.

  4. attentions, acts of courtesy or devotion indicating affection, as in courtship.

  5. Military. an erect position with eyes to the front, arms to the sides, and heels together (often used as a command).

Origin of attention

First recorded in 1325–75; Middle English attencioun, from Latin attentiōn-, stem of attentiō; see attent -ion

Other words for attention

Other words from attention

  • at·ten·tion·al, adjective
  • o·ver·at·ten·tion, noun

Words Nearby attention Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use attention in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for attention


/ (əˈtɛnʃən) /

  1. concentrated direction of the mind, esp to a problem or task

  2. consideration, notice, or observation: a new matter has come to our attention

  1. detailed care or special treatment: to pay attention to one's appearance

  2. (usually plural) an act of consideration, courtesy, or gallantry indicating affection or love: attentions given to a lover

  3. the motionless position of formal military alertness, esp in drill when an upright position is assumed with legs and heels together, arms to the sides, head and eyes facing to the front

  4. psychol the act of concentrating on any one of a set of objects or thoughts: See also selective attention

sentence substitute
  1. the order to be alert or to adopt a position of formal military alertness

Origin of attention

C14: from Latin attentiō, from attendere to apply the mind to; see attend

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

Other Idioms and Phrases with attention


see pay attention.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.