Denotation vs. Connotation


[uh-tend] /əˈtɛnd/
verb (used with object)
to be present at:
to attend a lecture; to attend church.
to go with as a concomitant or result; accompany:
Fever may attend a cold. Success attended her hard work.
to take care of; minister to; devote one's services to:
The nurse attended the patient daily.
to wait upon; accompany as a companion or servant:
The retainers attended their lord.
to take charge of; watch over; look after; tend; guard:
to attend one's health.
to listen to; give heed to.
Archaic. to wait for; expect.
verb (used without object)
to take care or charge:
to attend to a sick person.
to apply oneself:
to attend to one's work.
to pay attention; listen or watch attentively; direct one's thought; pay heed:
to attend to a speaker.
to be present:
She is a member but does not attend regularly.
to be present and ready to give service; wait (usually followed by on or upon):
to attend upon the Queen.
to follow; be consequent (usually followed by on or upon).
Obsolete. to wait.
Origin of attend
1250-1300; Middle English atenden < Anglo-French, Old French atendre < Latin attendere to bend to, notice. See at-, tend1
Related forms
attender, noun
attendingly, adverb
well-attended, adjective
4. See accompany. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for attend upon
Historical Examples
  • The parents of these children being exceeding poor, I bought the two boys, and brought them up to attend upon my sons.

    Tales from Shakespeare Charles Lamb and Mary Lamb
  • You do not see the delight that must attend upon conjecture.

    The Green Carnation Robert Smythe Hichens
  • So did Elizabeth, out of a whimsical humour, set the highest in the land to attend upon unknown, unconsidered exiles.

  • There was always a master of horse appointed to attend upon and second a dictator.

    Hannibal Jacob Abbott
  • Waiters in a coffee-room deserted other tables to attend upon that at which he was seated.

    Aurora Floyd, Vol. I (of 3) M. E. (Mary Elizabeth) Braddon
  • It was his mother who, rebuking his incivility, desired him to attend upon the lady.

    The Billow and the Rock Harriet Martineau
  • He began to cross the bridge at her side, but Nancy turned and bade him attend upon Miss.

    In the Year of Jubilee George Gissing
  • She also had a mother to support and attend upon, as well as a “bad leg” to endure.

    The Lively Poll R.M. Ballantyne
  • If it is necessary you should stay so long in Calcutta, why am I not with you to attend upon you?

    The Poison Tree Bankim Chandra Chatterjee
  • A small but powerful steamer is kept to attend upon this boat.

    Man on the Ocean R.M. Ballantyne
British Dictionary definitions for attend upon


to be present at (an event, meeting, etc)
when intr, foll by to. to give care; minister
when intr, foll by to. to pay attention; listen
(transitive; often passive) to accompany or follow: a high temperature attended by a severe cough
(intransitive; foll by on or upon) to follow as a consequence (of)
(intransitive) foll by to. to devote one's time; apply oneself: to attend to the garden
(transitive) to escort or accompany
(intransitive; foll by on or upon) to wait (on); serve; provide for the needs (of): to attend on a guest
(transitive) (archaic) to wait for; expect
(intransitive) (obsolete) to delay
Derived Forms
attender, noun
Word Origin
C13: from Old French atendre, from Latin attendere to stretch towards, from tendere to extend
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 attend upon



c.1300, "to direct one's mind or energies," from Old French atendre (12c., Modern French attendre) "to expect, wait for, pay attention," and directly from Latin attendere "give heed to," literally "to stretch toward," from ad- "to" (see ad-) + tendere "stretch" (see tenet). The notion is of "stretching" one's mind toward something. Sense of "take care of, wait upon" is from early 14c. Meaning "to pay attention" is early 15c.; that of "to be in attendance" is mid-15c. Related: Attended; attending.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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