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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
  • They all helped one another with humorous attentiveness, as though they had all agreed to rehearse a sort of artless farce.
  • The researchers suggest that action video games may be an effective way of bringing the brain's attentiveness back.
  • They babble on as if the user were in a magical state of attentiveness.
  • They ask good questions about lectures, showing attentiveness and curiosity.
  • Unfortunately you drew the wrong implication when you concluded that parents' attentiveness to fussy children makes matters worse.
  • But he remains concerned about the nature of attentiveness, and the lecture's role in the future of education.
  • Nodding is also seen as a display of attentiveness, rather than an act of affirmation.
  • Bender's attentiveness is credited with solving dozens of mysteries that had police stumped.
  • Victims often display lowered self-esteem and lowered grades, anxiety, and decreased attentiveness.
  • In fact, my birthday attentiveness was my signature talent.
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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