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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 inattentively
Historical Examples
  • She wanted more than anything else in life to go quickly, inattentively, past Bailey Sandby and up to her room.

    Linda Condon Joseph Hergesheimer
  • "You may well say so, ma'am," Captain Branscome answered, but inattentively.

    Poison Island Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch (Q)
  • Can I let any piece of my work be done carelessly or inattentively, when I know that it is being done expressly for Him?

    Education as Service J. Krishnamurti
  • She turned her head, considered him inattentively, then turned it away again.

    The Firing Line Robert W. Chambers
  • Madame—(inattentively)—But, my dear, how can you expect a fire to be in the drawing-room?

  • She scratched at imaginary seeds, inattentively awaiting his pleasure.

    Chiquita, an American Novel Merrill Tileston
  • "I scarcely know," said Raoul, inattentively, and sighing deeply at the same time.

    Louise de la Valliere Alexandre Dumas, Pere
  • Mrs. Marsden, glancing at him inattentively, vaguely wondered why he didn't take one of the many empty seats and sit down.

    Mrs. Thompson William Babington Maxwell
  • In the narrower sense, acts of will are such acts only as cannot be inattentively performed.

  • "That's enough," said Warble, inattentively, and she danced down stairs to freeze out her caller.

    Ptomaine Street Carolyn Wells
British Dictionary definitions for inattentively


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 inattentively



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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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