Someone who's inattentive isn't paying enough attention. An inattentive lunch companion might spend the whole meal texting on his phone.

Inattentive people are sometimes distracted, like an inattentive babysitter who loses track of the kids he's watching at the playground. You can also be inattentive simply through indifference or boredom — if you're inattentive at the opera, you're not paying attention to it because you're not interested in it. Inattentive tacks the "not" prefix in- onto attentive, from the Latin root attendere, "give heed to" or "stretch toward."

Definitions of inattentive
  1. adjective
    showing a lack of attention or care
    inattentive students”
    “an inattentive babysitter”
    absent, absentminded, abstracted, scatty
    lost in thought; showing preoccupation
    distracted, distrait
    having the attention diverted especially because of anxiety
    dreamy, moony, woolgathering
    dreamy in mood or nature
    drowsy, oscitant, yawning
    showing lack of attention or boredom
    forgetful, oblivious
    failing to keep in mind
    marked by lack of attention or consideration or forethought or thoroughness; not careful
    characterized by neglect and undue lack of concern
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    (often followed by `to') giving care or attention
    absorbed, captive, engrossed, enwrapped, intent, wrapped
    giving or marked by complete attention to
    advertent, heedful
    giving attention
    paying close attention especially to details
    excessively solicitous
    showing hovering attentiveness
    feeling or showing worry or solicitude
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  2. adjective
    not showing due care or attention
    inattentive students”
    “an inattentive babysitter”
    synonyms: neglectful
    characterized by neglect and undue lack of concern
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