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focus
used in a sentence

5 meanings
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1  —as in:
Turn your focus to question #2.
Definition verb: to concentrate, look at, or pay attention to

noun: the act of concentration, or the ability to concentrate

(to concentrate is to direct attention or effort towards a single thing)
  • I find that studying in the library helps me to focus.
focus = concentrate
Other Uses (with this meaning)
  • My phone will be off for the next hour while I focus on an assignment.
  • focus = concentrate
  • This week, I'm focusing on finishing my research paper.
  • focusing = concentrating
  • The class focuses on classic American literature.
  • focuses = concentrates
  • He felt dizzy, and couldn't focus his attention.
    Lois Lowry  --  The Giver
  • focus = concentrate
  • In fact, as you listen to Renee talking in the next few paragraphs, focus not on what she's saying but rather on how she's talking and why she's talking the way she is.
    Malcolm Gladwell  --  Outliers
  • focus = concentrate
  • The few times I did manage to focus my mind clearly on Nobu, I grew so numbed I seemed to feel nothing at all.
    Arthur Golden  --  Memoirs of a Geisha
  • focus = concentrate
  • After focusing on Big Thumb for so long, it was as if the rock had absorbed his energy and now acted like a kind of giant magnet pulling him toward it.
    Louis Sachar  --  Holes
  • focusing = concentrating
  • We're supposed to be focusing on our work.
    Margaret Atwood  --  Oryx and Crake
  • focusing = concentrating
  • I was focused on it and almost didn't notice Marlee sit down beside me.
    Kiera Cass  --  The Selection
focused = concentrating

Dictionary / pronunciation — Google®Dictionary / more samples — Oxford® USDictionary list — Onelook.com®
2  —as in:
The focus of our study is...
Definition where attention is concentrated or directed
  • Since we're running out of time, let's narrow our focus to just what needs to be done tomorrow.
focus = area where attention is concentrated
Other Uses (with this meaning)
  • This focus of this class is classic American Literature.
  • focus = area where attention is concentrated
  • My main focus is on getting into a college with a good reputation for preparing students for medical school.
  • focus = area where attention is concentrated
  • She likes to be the focus of attention.
  • focus = where attention is concentrated
  • The focus of his paper involved putting a price on the variables of happiness.
    Jodi Picoult  --  Nineteen Minutes
  • focus = place where attention is directed
  • You know, America, I've been meaning to ask what your focus was as a Five.
    Kiera Cass  --  The Selection
  • focus = place where attention is directed
  • This was the focus of her nightmares: Louie being shot in his plane.
    Laura Hillenbrand  --  Unbroken - adapted for young adults
  • focus = where attention is concentrated
  • His accent made him exotic and interesting; his broken arm made him a martyr; his sadism made him a natural focus for all those who loved pain in others.
    Orson Scott Card  --  Ender's Game
  • focus = place where attention is directed
  • And so when houses were finally fireproofed completely, all over the world there was no longer need of firemen for the old purposes. They were given the new job, as custodians of our peace of mind, the focus of our understandable and rightful dread of being inferior; official censors, judges, and executors.
    Ray Bradbury  --  Fahrenheit 451
  • focus = center (where attention is concentrated)
  • In a space of a few short weeks, he had shrunk, literally collapsing around his lungs as they became the entire focus of his being.
    Homer Hickam  --  October Sky
focus = where attention is concentrated

Dictionary / pronunciation — Google®Dictionary / more samples — Oxford® USDictionary list — Onelook.com®
3  —as in:
bring into focus; or out of focus
Definition a state where something has come into view or can be seen clearly

(Typically this is said of the appearance of an image or picture, but it can also be said of something that get's attention, or of an understanding that become clear.)
  • The bridge collapse brought aging infrastructure into focus as a political issue.
focus = into view (as an area of attention)
Other Uses (with this meaning)
  • The discussion brought into focus an important difference of opinion.
  • focus = into view (as an area of attention)
  • The picture is out of focus, but I think I recognize her.
  • focus = in a state where something cannot be seen clearly
  • Is the picture in focus.
  • in focus = clear (sharp)
  • The blog is called Family-In Focus. Each entry discusses a common family challenge.
  • in focus = in a state where something is in view and/or clear
  • They didn't show the man's face in focus.
    Ray Bradbury  --  Fahrenheit 451
  • in focus = so it could be clearly seen
  • I squint at the name until it comes into focus.
    Stephanie Perkins  --  Anna and the French Kiss
  • focus = view (a state where something can be seen clearly)
  • Somewhere between the various thoughts about my mother—somewhere past the discomfort in my lip—there nestled a pleasant thought I tried again and again to bring into focus.
    Arthur Golden  --  Memoirs of a Geisha
  • focus = view (a state where something can be seen clearly)
  • He felt his feet hit solid ground, and stood, shaking, as the blurred shapes around him came suddenly into focus.
    J.K. Rowling  --  Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
  • focus = view (a state where something can be seen clearly)
  • Where are you?! I demand an answer from myself and slowly the world comes into focus.
    Suzanne Collins  --  Catching Fire
focus = view (a state where something can be seen clearly)

Dictionary / pronunciation — Google®Dictionary / more samples — Oxford® USDictionary list — Onelook.com®
4  —as in:
The camera focuses automatically
Definition to adjust a lens to make an image clear
  • I have to give the camera a little while to focus before I shoot the picture.
focus = adjust its lens to get a clear picture
Other Uses (with this meaning)
  • Focus [the camera] on the trees behind the lake.
  • focus = adjust its lens to get a clear picture
  • To rest your eyes while reading, look up and focus on something in the distance.
  • focus = look (when you look at something, you eye's lens automatically adjusts to put it in focus)
  • The telescope is focused on the moon. Would you like to look?
  • focused = adjusted [the lens] to make an image clear
  • David must have been testing the range of his camera, keeping the subject the same and varying the focus, the aperture, the available light.
    Kim Edwards  --  The Memory Keeper's Daughter
  • focus = lens adjustment
  • It was true that Pumpkin was having trouble focusing her eyes.
    Arthur Golden  --  Memoirs of a Geisha
  • focusing = adjusting vision (to see something clearly)
  • Each time he made the turn, he saw only the white, unused, buckling sidewalk, with perhaps, on one night, something vanishing swiftly across a lawn before he could focus his eyes or speak.
    Ray Bradbury  --  Fahrenheit 451
  • focus = adjust (to see clearly)
  • Harry's eyes narrowed as he focused on the spiders.
    J.K. Rowling  --  Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
  • focused = adjusted vision (to see clearly)
  • Or did he shake my brain pan loose and I'm over there dead on the ground... I try to focus my eyes.
    Kathryn Stockett  --  The Help
  • focus = adjust (to see clearly)
  • It took a second for his eyes to focus on the moving object on the other side, to look past the grime and dust and see what Newt wanted him to see.
    James Dashner  --  The Maze Runner
focus = adjust (to see clearly)

Dictionary / pronunciation — Google®Dictionary / more samples — Oxford® USDictionary list — Onelook.com®
5  
technical usage
Definition technical usage typically involves some sense of center or concentration such as:
  • physics — a point where things come together such as the point where light rays meet
  • geometry — a fixed reference point (as of a parabola)
  • geology — the point of origin of an earthquake
See a comprehensive dictionary for other less common meanings.
  • The satellite dish focuses the signal into a relatively narrow beam.
focuses = concentrates
Other Uses (with this meaning)
  • The focus of a parabola is a fixed point on the interior of the parabola used in the formal definition of the curve.
  • focus = a fixed reference point
  • For the first time on the island, Piggy himself removed his one glass, knelt down and focused the sun on tinder.
    William Golding  --  Lord of the Flies
  • focused = concentrated sunlight rays by pointing them at the same spot
  • But it has a tight enough beam. Well-focused. You can aim it and make a three-inch circle of light on a wall a hundred meters off.
    Orson Scott Card  --  Ender's Game
  • focused = concentrated at a single point
  • I summon all my own strength, focus it like a laser beam into the fingers and palm of my right hand.
    Gayle Forman  --  If I Stay
  • focus = concentrate at one spot
  • At the focal point of two beams, it sets up a field in which molecules can't hold together anymore.
    Orson Scott Card  --  Ender's Game
  • focal = where things come together
  • I told Dick to hold the flashlight, focus it.
    Truman Capote  --  In Cold Blood
  • focus = concentrate at one spot
  • Eragon drew upon their combined power and focused it on the words.
    Christopher Paolini  --  Eragon
  • focused = concentrated at a single point
  • One of the pilots had used a watch crystal as a magnifying glass to focus the sun and start a fire so they didn't have to eat the lizards raw.
    Gary Paulsen  --  Hatchet
  • focus = concentrate at one spot
  • The powers on a scope refer to the magnification of the focal length.
    Chris Kyle  --  American Sniper
focal = the distance between the center of the lens and where it is looking

Dictionary / pronunciation — Google®Dictionary / more samples — Oxford® USDictionary list — Onelook.com®
Less commonly:
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