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attention (n.)

late 14c., "a giving heed, active direction of the mind upon some object or topic," from Old French attencion and directly from Latin attentionem (nominative attentio) "attention, attentiveness," noun of action from past-participle stem of attendere "give heed to," literally "to stretch toward," from ad "to, toward" (see ad-) + tendere "stretch," from PIE root *ten- "to stretch."

Rare in English before 17c. Meaning "consideration, observant care" is from 1741; that of "civility, courtesy" is from 1752. Meaning "power of mental concentration" is from 1871. It is used with a remarkable diversity of verbs (pay, gather, attract, draw, call, etc.). As a military cautionary word before giving a command, it is attested from 1792. Attention span is from 1903 (earlier span of attention, 1892). Related: Attentions.

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Definitions of attention from WordNet

attention (n.)
the process whereby a person concentrates on some features of the environment to the (relative) exclusion of others;
Synonyms: attending
attention (n.)
the work of providing treatment for or attending to someone or something;
the old car needs constant attention
Synonyms: care / aid / tending
attention (n.)
a general interest that leads people to want to know more;
She was the center of attention
attention (n.)
a courteous act indicating affection;
she tried to win his heart with her many attentions
attention (n.)
the faculty or power of mental concentration;
keeping track of all the details requires your complete attention
attention (n.)
a motionless erect stance with arms at the sides and feet together; assumed by military personnel during drill or review;
the troops stood at attention
From wordnet.princeton.edu