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[uh-ten-tiv] /əˈtɛn tɪv/
characterized by or giving attention; observant:
an attentive audience.
thoughtful of others; considerate; polite; courteous:
an attentive host.
Origin of attentive
late Middle English
1375-1425; late Middle English (Scots) < Middle French; see attent, -ive
Related forms
attentively, adverb
attentiveness, noun
overattentive, adjective
overattentively, adverb
overattentiveness, noun
unattentive, adjective
unattentively, adverb
unattentiveness, noun
1. heedful, mindful, aware, alert, awake, watchful.
1. indifferent, apathetic, unconcerned. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for attentive
  • The staff was pleasant and attentive.
  • To everyone's credit, it was one of the more attentive and polite matinee crowds I've encountered lately.
  • Playing and concentrating on medals can make a player be way more attentive in a match and can really benefit the team in the end.
  • He's charming and attentive, observant and clever — without ever seeming to try.
  • Not many people are very attentive.
  • This debut novel rewards attentive reading.
  • He was kind, gracious and attentive.
  • The Doctor, seeing his client more attentive than alarmed, was greatly surprised.
  • Visiting another school, Spooner and several players address attentive youngsters.
  • But service on the whole was more attentive than before.
British Dictionary definitions for attentive


paying attention; listening carefully; observant
(postpositive) often foll by to. careful to fulfil the needs or wants (of); considerate (about): she was always attentive to his needs
Derived Forms
attentively, adverb
attentiveness, 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
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Word Origin and History for attentive

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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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