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the act or faculty of attending, especially by directing the mind to an object.

a concentration of the mind on a single object or thought, especially one preferentially selected from a complex, with a view to limiting or clarifying receptivity by narrowing the range of stimuli.
a state of consciousness characterized by such concentration.
a capacity to maintain selective or sustained concentration.

observant care; consideration:
Individual attention is given to each child.
civility or courtesy:
attention to a guest.
notice or awareness:
His deliberate cough caught the waiter’s attention.
attentions, acts of courtesy or devotion indicating affection, as in courtship.
Military. an erect position with eyes to the front, arms to the sides, and heels together (often used as a command).
Contemporary Examples

Facebook’s answer to its critics is: pay no attention to the carping.
Facebook’s Dilemma: Invade Privacy or Go Bust David Frum May 23, 2012

But when we go away, the world has a way of demanding our attention.
Does Obama Remember He’s President? Stuart Stevens September 7, 2014

Through the attention he brings to bear on the problem of language, he seems close to the ‘structuralists.’
Derrida’s ‘Of Grammatology’ and the Birth of Deconstruction Benoît Peeters December 20, 2012

With dreams of immigration reform in 2014 slipping away, attention has turned to next year.
These Undocumented Teens Outsmarted MIT—and Still Cant Get Real Jobs in America Jonathan Alter July 13, 2014

The attention of Americans has been consumed the past weeks by extreme weather and extreme politics.
Mario Draghi May Become the Man Who Saved Europe—and the World Zachary Karabell September 6, 2012

Historical Examples

But there was one on the mantel which attracted my attention especially.
Lucy Maud Montgomery Short Stories, 1909 to 1922 Lucy Maud Montgomery

The three gave Andy a look and a grunt, but otherwise they paid no attention to him.
Way of the Lawless Max Brand

Two or three objects were at this moment observed which fixed their attention.
The Giraffe Hunters Mayne Reid

One’s attention was not called to it otherwise than as a wholly inevitable state.
The Conquest of Fear Basil King

He had chosen a moment when her attention was distracted to slip out unobserved.
The Giant’s Robe F. Anstey

concentrated direction of the mind, esp to a problem or task
consideration, notice, or observation: a new matter has come to our attention
detailed care or special treatment: to pay attention to one’s appearance
(usually pl) an act of consideration, courtesy, or gallantry indicating affection or love: attentions given to a lover
the motionless position of formal military alertness, esp in drill when an upright position is assumed with legs and heels together, arms to the sides, head and eyes facing to the front
(psychol) the act of concentrating on any one of a set of objects or thoughts See also selective attention
sentence substitute
the order to be alert or to adopt a position of formal military alertness

late 14c., “giving heed,” from Latin attentionem (nominative attentio) “attention, attentiveness,” noun of action from past participle stem of attendere “mental heeding” (see attend). Used with a remarkable diversity of verbs (e.g. pay, gather, attract, draw, call). As a military cautionary word preparative to giving a command, it is attested from 1792.
see: pay attention


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    a line of text after the address on a piece of correspondence, directing it to a particular person or department. Historical Examples Obviously the chain of reasoning must start from the attention line. Practical English Composition: Book II. Edwin L. Miller

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