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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 attentiveness
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • All this cordial kindness and attentiveness were putting him at his ease.

    The Woman of Mystery Maurice Leblanc
  • He was assured then of their attentiveness and protected from their interruption.

    The Bishop's Apron W. Somerset Maugham
  • But, through all his attentiveness to Savina, his crowding thoughts, he listened for the return of the car with the doctor.

    Cytherea Joseph Hergesheimer
  • The kindness and attentiveness of this man are simply wonderful.

  • He understood her attentiveness to his comfort when she touched his arm and begged a word with him.

    Red-Robin Jane Abbott
  • His attentiveness and courtesy were not ungrateful after the way things were thrown at you at Sothern and Lee's, we declared.

    The Fortune Hunter Louis Joseph Vance
  • He answered, looking down into her eyes, which were full of attentiveness.

    At Fault Kate Chopin.
  • The twins' devotion to each other was never failing, but this attentiveness on the part of Carol was extremely odd.

    Prudence Says So Ethel Hueston
British Dictionary definitions for attentiveness


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 attentiveness

mid-15c., from attentive + -ness.



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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