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Origin of inattentive

First recorded in 1735–45; in-3 + attentive
Related formsin·at·ten·tive·ly, adverbin·at·ten·tive·ness, noun

Synonyms for inattentive

See more synonyms for on Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for inattentively

Historical Examples of inattentively

  • Madame—(inattentively)—But, my dear, how can you expect a fire to be in the drawing-room?

  • "You may well say so, ma'am," Captain Branscome answered, but inattentively.

    Poison Island

    Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch (Q)

  • She turned her head, considered him inattentively, then turned it away again.

    The Firing Line

    Robert W. Chambers

  • "I scarcely know," said Raoul, inattentively, and sighing deeply at the same time.

    Louise de la Valliere

    Alexandre Dumas, Pere

  • Can I let any piece of my work be done carelessly or inattentively, when I know that it is being done expressly for Him?

    Education as Service

    J. Krishnamurti

British Dictionary definitions for inattentively


  1. not paying attention; heedless; negligent
Derived Formsinattention or inattentiveness, nouninattentively, adverb
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

Word Origin and History for inattentively



1741, from in- (1) "not, opposite of" + attentive. Related: Inattentively; inattentiveness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper