• synonyms


See more synonyms for attentive on Thesaurus.com
  1. characterized by or giving attention; observant: an attentive audience.
  2. thoughtful of others; considerate; polite; courteous: an attentive host.
Show More

Origin of attentive

1375–1425; late Middle English (Scots) < Middle French; see attent, -ive
Related formsat·ten·tive·ly, adverbat·ten·tive·ness, nouno·ver·at·ten·tive, adjectiveo·ver·at·ten·tive·ly, adverbo·ver·at·ten·tive·ness, nounun·at·ten·tive, adjectiveun·at·ten·tive·ly, adverbun·at·ten·tive·ness, noun


See more synonyms for attentive on Thesaurus.com
1. heedful, mindful, aware, alert, awake, watchful.


1. indifferent, apathetic, unconcerned.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for unattentive

Historical Examples

  • A short speech; and an unattentive, and disheartened audience!

    The Reign of Tiberius, Out of the First Six Annals of Tacitus


  • The public who do not believe in military operations without bloodshed may be unattentive.

  • Young men, who are too unattentive to receive lectures, are irresistibly taken with performances.

  • Milk and sugar and was unattentive as to cleanliness with the child?

    Warren Commission (9 of 26): Hearings Vol. IX (of 15)

    The President's Commission on the Assassination of President Kennedy

British Dictionary definitions for unattentive


  1. paying attention; listening carefully; observant
  2. (postpositive often foll by to) careful to fulfil the needs or wants (of); considerate (about)she was always attentive to his needs
Show More
Derived Formsattentively, adverbattentiveness, 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

Word Origin and History for unattentive



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.

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper