- the act or faculty of attending, especially by directing the mind to an object.
- 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.
- observant care; consideration: Individual attention is given to each child.
- civility or courtesy: attention to a guest.
- notice or awareness: His deliberate cough caught the waiter’s attention.
- attentions, acts of courtesy or devotion indicating affection, as in courtship.
- Military. an erect position with eyes to the front, arms to the sides, and heels together (often used as a command).
- concentrated direction of the mind, esp to a problem or task
- consideration, notice, or observationa new matter has come to our attention
- detailed care or special treatmentto pay attention to one’s appearance
- (usually plural) an act of consideration, courtesy, or gallantry indicating affection or loveattentions given to a lover
- 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
- psychol the act of concentrating on any one of a set of objects or thoughtsSee also
- the order to be alert or to adopt a position of formal military alertness
late 14c., “giving heed,” from Latin attentionem (nominative attentio) “attention, attentiveness,” noun of action from past participle stem of attendere “mental heeding” (see ). Used with a remarkable diversity of verbs (e.g. pay, gather, attract, draw, call). As a military cautionary word preparative to giving a command, it is attested from 1792.
see pay attention.