Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

focus - definition and synonyms

What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.

Thesaurus diagram

The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary. Click on the thesaurus category heading under the button in an entry to see the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

verb [intransitive/transitive]     focus pronunciation in British English
Word Forms
present tense
he/she/itfocusses or focuses
present participlefocusing or focussing
past tensefocused or focussed
past participlefocused or focussed
  1. 1
    to concentrate on something and pay particular attention to it

    I know you’re tired, but try to focus.

    focus on/upon:

    We will focus upon three main topics.

    focus attention on something:

    Attention has been focused recently on the dangers of nuclear reactors.

    focus your mind on something:

    He found himself struggling to focus his mind on the discussion.

    focus solely/entirely/particularly/exclusively on something:

    Schools should not focus exclusively on exam results.

    focus efforts/energy on something:

    Efforts are now focused on cleaning up the beaches.

  2. 2
    to turn a part on a camera, telescope, microscope etc until you can see something clearly
    focus on:

    The television cameras were focused on the crowd.

  3. 3
    if your eyes focus, or if you focus your eyes, you look at something carefully until you can start to see it clearly

    It took a while for my eyes to focus in the dim light of the cave.

    focus your eyes/gaze on someone/something:

    Polly focused her gaze on Nathan.

  4. 4
    science if a lens or mirror focuses rays of light, or if they focus, they meet at a particular point
  • Facebook
  • Twitter

deep learning

a form of machine learning which incorporates the use of neural networks

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary

snap election

a general election … that is called earlier than expected

add a word


A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog
Macmillan learn live love play