When you don't pay full attention to something or someone, that's inattention. Your inattention while you're driving can lead to mistakes like running a red light or bumping into the car in front of you.

If you're not focusing on something enough, you're guilty of inattention. Inattention can be dangerous when you're flying a plane, taking a math test, or babysitting an active toddler. When you add the "not" prefix in- to attention (which comes from the Latin attendere, "give heed to," or literally "stretch toward"), you get inattention.

Definitions of inattention
  1. noun
    lack of attention
    see moresee less
    attending, attention
    the process whereby a person concentrates on some features of the environment to the (relative) exclusion of others
    show 4 types...
    hide 4 types...
    heedlessness, inattentiveness
    a lack of attentiveness (as to children or helpless people)
    an obstacle to attention
    disregard, neglect
    lack of attention and due care
    neglecting to do something; leaving out or passing over something
    type of:
    basic cognitive process
    cognitive processes involved in obtaining and storing knowledge
Word Family

Test prep from the experts

Boost your test score with programs developed by’s experts.

  • Proven methods: Learn faster, remember longer with our scientific approach.
  • Personalized plan: We customize your experience to maximize your learning.
  • Strategic studying: Focus on the words that are most crucial for success.


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 8 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 10 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 700+
  • Duration: 10 weeks
  • Time: 1 hour / week