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[in-uh-ten-tiv] /ˌɪn əˈtɛn tɪv/
not attentive; negligent.
Origin of inattentive
1735-45; in-3 + attentive
Related forms
inattentively, adverb
inattentiveness, noun
heedless, oblivious, unmindful, preoccupied. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for inattentive
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He was then found to be very distractible and inattentive, seemed suspicious and excited and assumed stiff attitudes.

  • You shall not complain of an inattentive or an irritable auditor.

    Vivian Grey Earl of Beaconsfield, Benjamin Disraeli
  • The careless, inattentive man, who leaves his bees unnoticed from October till May, will be likely to complain of ill success.

  • He was inattentive, and I perceived that he was profoundly perturbed.

    Chance Joseph Conrad
  • The tutor was an impatient old gentleman and the pupil was so inattentive that his knuckles were sharply rapped with a ruler.

    Blackbeard: Buccaneer Ralph D. Paine
  • But when prayer is inattentive the mind does not ascend towards God.

  • No longer listless or inattentive, her face was brightened by smiles.

British Dictionary definitions for inattentive


not paying attention; heedless; negligent
Derived Forms
inattention, inattentiveness, noun
inattentively, adverb
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 inattentive

1741, from in- (1) "not, opposite of" + attentive. Related: Inattentively; inattentiveness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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