Definition of focus in English:

focus

noun

  • 1The center of interest or activity.

    ‘this generation has made the environment a focus of attention’
    • ‘But if it keeps a clear focus it might achieve a way forward for our embattled province.’
    • ‘Creating awareness of other cultures was an important focus of this project.’
    • ‘Let me focus on Islam in particular, since it is so much the focus of current events and thinking.’
    • ‘It's pretty hard to focus on issues beyond oneself, if the primary focus is the next notch on the bed frame.’
    • ‘Frequent shifts in the proposed focus of the fund suggest considerable contention behind the scenes.’
    • ‘We focus on parentage because it is the primary focus of published literature and it is the easiest level of ancestry to understand.’
    • ‘Using the pain in both wrists as a focus, he concentrated his distaste directly on the man before him.’
    • ‘It's easiest to focus on hobbies and favorite interests, although food can also be the focus of the basket.’
    • ‘Likewise, the securing of ownership of Hearts has been the focus of interest in the Edinburgh club.’
    • ‘Focus on the other festivities and don't make food the focus of the evening.’
    • ‘It was disappointing to see that the focus of her letter concentrated on the negative aspects and did not paint the full picture.’
    • ‘Another reason can be given for the differing focus of Jewish interest in biblical theology.’
    • ‘We believe our evaluation to be rigorously designed, with a defined focus and clear objectives.’
    • ‘But combine it with a programme that lacks a clear focus and Cork's year in the cultural spotlight is already looking shaky.’
    • ‘We keep our focus by concentrating on efforts on the goods and services we are strongest in.’
    • ‘The RFU's ‘Impact’ strategy will be the focus of all activity to increase participation.’
    • ‘The relationship between spirituality and medicine has been the focus of considerable interest in recent years.’
    • ‘Once you have a clear focus, gather the right team around you to get the job done.’
    • ‘He concentrated on finding his focus and ignoring everything else as the voice bombarded him with words.’
    • ‘It is clear that New Zealand needs new leadership and a new focus.’
    centre, focal point, central point, centre of attention, hub, pivot, nucleus, heart, cornerstone, linchpin, kingpin, bedrock, basis, anchor, backbone, cynosure
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    1. 1.1 An act of concentrating interest or activity on something.
      ‘our focus on the customer's requirements’
      • ‘Another attack also failed but it served a purpose of concentrating the focus of the Japanese on these torpedo squadrons.’
      • ‘Jesse refused to meet her eyes, his focus concentrating on her silver hoop earrings.’
      • ‘Keep your entire focus of concentration on the muscles that you're stretching and how they feel at that moment.’
      • ‘Yelina shifted her focus and began concentrating on her breathing.’
      • ‘I relish the hours when my entire focus isn't concentrated on breathing.’
      • ‘The breakup ruined my concentration, my focus, my ambition at the company.’
      • ‘A line-man likes to narrow his focus and concentrate on his assignments late in the week.’
      • ‘I just kept my focus and concentrated on striking as much as I could; I didn't worry about what Wendy was doing.’
      • ‘The viewer has to have a greater focus, a greater concentration, to be overwhelmed by a work of visual art or literature.’
      • ‘Our focus concentrated on those clutch sizes thought to be vulnerable to the spread of siblicidal behavior.’
      • ‘The focus has been on extensive training programs to build the work force, he reports.’
      • ‘All my focus is concentrated on the back that's slowly going further away from me.’
      • ‘But James would also narrow the focus to concentrate solely on the moral gains of unrequited love.’
      • ‘Focus on your own feelings and share them with your partner, so you won't lose the focus of your own body.’
      • ‘He concentrated, pulling his focus inward and trying to see if there was something wrong inside that would make him lose control.’
      • ‘To be charitable, perhaps his paranoid focus on who'd been criticising Latham obscured his focus.’
      • ‘I concentrated all of my focus into my magic as I formed a fireball in my hand.’
      emphasis, accent, priority, attention, concentration
      subject, theme, concern, subject matter, topic, issue, question, text, thesis, content, point, motif, thread
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    2. 1.2Geology The point of origin of an earthquake.
      Compare with epicenter
      • ‘This result strongly agrees with the upward migration of seismic foci in the volcanic edifice, which has been found to precede recent flank eruptions.’
      • ‘The geographic point directly above the focus is called the earthquake epicenter.’
    3. 1.3Medicine The principal site of an infection or other disease.
      • ‘In addition, a microscopic focus of transitional cell carcinoma was seen adjacent to the main tumor.’
      • ‘There was extensive embolization to the brain and multiple foci of Aspergillus infection in kidneys and adrenal glands.’
      • ‘Multiple foci of infection, several millimeters in diameter, were seen in many organs.’
      • ‘The macroscopically apparent thrombosed vessels in case 3 contained tumor emboli and multiple foci of infarction.’
      • ‘An identifiable focus of primary infection should also be addressed when possible.’
  • 2The state or quality of having or producing clear visual definition.

    ‘his face is rather out of focus’
    • ‘I'm definitely one of those people who hears most music as a soundtrack to a film going on somewhere in my head, usually deeply out of focus.’
    • ‘When she finally did open them, everything blurred out of focus, then came in clear.’
    • ‘It's only to be expected that most of the pictures are not of the highest quality, often out of focus or a bit blurred.’
    • ‘Shallow depth of field traps the eye in layers of information, in and out of focus.’
    • ‘There were rumours of a new girlfriend, and the tabloid was interested in any picture, however badly exposed or out of focus.’
    • ‘Artifacts are plentiful, and making matters worse, some scenes were unintentionally shot out of focus.’
    • ‘Your face is frozen to an oval miniature, glistening, out of focus.’
    • ‘My eyes are aching and squinting; my book is going in and out of focus.’
    • ‘Jani gasped, and her brown eyes lost their focus as she concentrated.’
    • ‘It just looks out of focus but its still watchable, like a second generation vhs copy (without the picture roll and wigged out colour).’
    • ‘So nothing is in the shadows, nothing's out of focus.’
    • ‘The camera was so out of focus at the start that the credits were illegible.’
    • ‘Even the smallest amateur telescope will clearly show the rings of Saturn, provided it is in focus.’
    • ‘It may be grainy and out of focus, but I quite like that.’
    • ‘So, the scientist-as-detective has been present right from the start of this century, and it's come in and out of focus.’
    • ‘The fiber was brought into focus, and the bead was manipulated into the same focal plane.’
    • ‘A specially shaped camera lens and processing method to ensure images are always in focus has been developed.’
    • ‘The room was spinning, and things kept sliding in and out of focus.’
    • ‘The result is blurry and dark, often out of focus.’
    focal point, point of convergence
    sharp, crisp, distinct, clear-cut, clear, well defined, well focused
    blurred, unfocused, indistinct, blurry, fuzzy, hazy, misty, cloudy, foggy, fogged, shadowy, smoky, faint
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1
      another term for focal point
      • ‘Why has religion been such a central preoccupation and focus of debate in political science over the last 20 years?’
      • ‘I don't value a more male focus above more female focus.’
      • ‘Once you pinpoint your focus, it's time to do more homework about the industries and companies in which you want to find work.’
      • ‘Their focus was always upon the general rather than the particular.’
      • ‘Hence, the character of these variables is one central focus of our current research into OS projects.’
      • ‘The probability for such an event occurring is only significant at the plane of focus, where photon flux is the highest.’
      • ‘Breman's central focus is on the working poor at the bottom of Gujarat's society.’
      • ‘As a result, the current focus for tunable lasers is on circuit-switched applications.’
      • ‘With respect to the definition of business purpose and business mission, there is only one such focus, one starting point.’
      • ‘The focus vanished and the blaster returned to room temperature.’
      • ‘They primarily felt that education is a necessary and central focus for building a strong nation.’
      • ‘The case story is often the immediate or central focus of the consultation.’
      • ‘Angus has composed the motifs in defined coloured areas with no central focus.’
      • ‘The central and overriding focus of this project is dealing with racism face-to-face.’
      • ‘The use of collinear beam geometry facilitates the alignment of the overlap of the two foci and ensures high image quality.’
      • ‘Yet, an authentic transgenerational focus radiating from a cultural lens has been lacking.’
      • ‘Underrepresented middle-school children are the focus of a new optics outreach program.’
      • ‘Her entire focus was concentrated on the small object which rested at the exact center of the room, her one and only focal point.’
      • ‘While Zippy has the attention span of a goldfish, his wife has the focus of an electron microscope.’
      • ‘The gentleman moved his focus to the intersection between the main and back halls that led to the gardens.’
    2. 2.2 The point at which an object must be situated with respect to a lens or mirror for an image of it to be well defined.
    3. 2.3 A device on a lens which can be adjusted to produce a clear image.
      • ‘He adjusted the focus of the lamp and watched Clark's face contort.’
      • ‘These lenses adjust their focus with a patient's eye muscles to give them seamless near or distance vision.’
      • ‘Focusing is similar to a traditional roof prism binocular with the right ocular adjustable and a center focus knob.’
      • ‘Focus on the subject and keep your finger depressed on the focus lock.’
      • ‘The microscope has a motorized focus, allowing a minimum step resolution of 25 nm.’
      • ‘He adjusts the focus of the Carl Zeiss 120 mm macro lens, which allows him to work very close up.’
      • ‘The focus can be adjusted slightly in order to sharpen up different parts of the image corresponding to objects at different depths in the scene.’
      • ‘Katsukoii slowly turned a knob, which indicated that she was adjusting the focus.’
      • ‘Focus on the subject and use the focus lock facility of your camera.’
  • 3Geometry
    One of the fixed points from which the distances to any point of a given curve, such as an ellipse or parabola, are connected by a linear relation.

    • ‘The catenary is the locus of the focus of a parabola rolling along a straight line.’
    • ‘A feed system is placed with its phase center at the focus of the parabola.’
    • ‘The focus and directrix of a parabola were considered by Pappus.’
    • ‘Well, he discovered, in the elliptical function, that the Sun was located at one of the two foci of the relevant ellipse.’
    • ‘The circumcircle of a triangle formed by three tangents to a parabola, passes through the focus of the parabola.’
  • 4Linguistics
    The part of a sentence given prominence, usually for emphasis or contrast, e.g., Bob in it was Bob who came, not Bill.

    Compare with rheme

verb

[NO OBJECT]
  • 1(of a person or their eyes) adapt to the prevailing level of light and become able to see clearly.

    ‘try to focus on a stationary object’
    • ‘If Midori had been able to focus beyond the nemesis in front of her, she would have noticed that hope wasn't so terribly far away.’
    • ‘Squinting, barely able to focus, Bill could make out Neva and the vampire called Lamkin.’
    • ‘I was so nervous that I couldn't focus clearly on the road and we had to stop to change places with Rachel.’
    • ‘She could only see a blur at first, but her vision focused and she was able to see clearly her surroundings.’
    • ‘His blue eyes didn't seem to focus on any one person on the floor below him, but seemed to see all of them without focusing.’
    • ‘When she was able to focus, she saw two vamps descending on her.’
    • ‘Conservators using a binocular microscope could focus to see crystals and liquid droplets on the glass surfaces.’
    1. 1.1with object Cause (one's eyes) to focus.
      ‘trying to focus his bleary eyes on Corbett’
      • ‘As sales on both sides of the Atlantic in early June revealed, a good provenance works wonders in focussing a collector's eye.’
      • ‘With ears pricked, eyes were focused just two days later for Minstermen watchers of BBC's less sedate They Think It's All Over.’
      • ‘Franklin dug through the spoils, focusing his trained eye and pulling out the impotent mushrooms.’
      • ‘His eyes were focussed somewhere off in the deepening gloom.’
      • ‘It takes a special sort of myopia to focus your eye and see the people who carry out such acts as ‘the oppressed’.’
      • ‘Feeling distinctly sick, he lay back down and focused his eyes, surveying his surroundings.’
      • ‘It was difficult to focus her eyes, but she saw that he was gazing intently into them.’
      • ‘Sitting down in a chair, I focused my eyes and senses on your face and learnt the lessons of beauty.’
      • ‘Every few metres the cat stopped and twisted its head around, focussing its yellow eyes on me, checking to see if I was still in pursuit.’
      • ‘You struggle up in the dark, focusing your eyes in desperation on the digital alarm clock, which tells you that it's 7.30 am.’
      • ‘Her body stiffens as she stares at the TV, focusing her eyes, ears, heart and soul on the screen.’
      • ‘I focussed my eyes onto each of the signs and grumbled in annoyance.’
      • ‘By then, Kentou was watching it too, trying to focus his eyes onto the blurred shape, trying to make out the features of the body.’
      • ‘Coughing, she focussed her eyes straight ahead of her and saw a road.’
      • ‘I think some of the brain which attends to focussing my eyes may have leaked out.’
      • ‘Kino lay back against the wall of the cave, squinting, rubbing and focusing his eyes to get the blind spots out.’
      • ‘I had focused my eyes, like staring through glass at something I wasn't worthy of having.’
      • ‘The woman tries to focus her eyes, but turns them away after a second.’
      • ‘Josie's eyes weren't focussed, she wasn't even blinking.’
      • ‘She wasn't watching the music video; her eyes were focused inward, deep in thought.’
    2. 1.2with object Adjust the focus of (a telescope, camera, or other instrument)
      ‘they were focusing a telescope on a star’
      • ‘Generally Brill focuses his rock-steady handheld camera on the faces of the doctors, nurses and Gillies himself.’
      • ‘I focused my camera once more, and again, I went unnoticed.’
      • ‘‘Just look at me,’ says Juergen, focusing the camera.’
      • ‘Hundreds of people use auto-focus cameras and there are many people who can't focus their cameras anymore.’
      • ‘Using a remote PC, the operator illuminates the target, focuses the camera, and selects the appropriate analytical tools.’
      • ‘He likened this to the chances that an out-of-focus microscope could be focused by small vs. large random adjustments.’
      • ‘Good thing he took the time to focus his video camera on the guy.’
      • ‘I smiled at the site and focused the camera and snapped a few shots.’
      • ‘‘Best seats in the house,’ he said, looking up and focusing his camera.’
      • ‘Arbus focused her camera and triggered the shutter.’
      • ‘So I focused the camera towards Em, and asked her questions.’
      • ‘We went through the business of focussing the camera, and then gave her the portrait and took the 6d.’
      • ‘I have written about this many times, but modern auto-focus cameras deliver more ‘out of focus’ shots than manually focussed cameras.’
      • ‘He stopped at the top and focused his camera, snapping a few pictures of the landscape.’
      • ‘For example, in one puzzle you have to focus a telescope, and to do so you have to add or remove 14 lenses.’
      • ‘She moved closer to the kids and focused her camera.’
      • ‘This instrument can be focused with a wheel that moves the lens tube in and out.’
      • ‘I believe the Shuttle cameras focus everything from a few inches away until infinity.’
      • ‘My heart is seriously about to beat out of my chest, but I focus my camera before I can change my mind and run out the back door.’
      • ‘I focused my Alpha's cameras in on some of the stuff.’
      bring into focus, bring to a focus
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    3. 1.3 (of rays or waves) meet at a single point.
      • ‘The effect can be seen in attics under ill-fitting tiled roofs, where the sun's rays are focused through chinks between the tiles.’
      • ‘These scatter the sun's rays, and prevent them from being focused together into a single bright point.’
      • ‘Because gamma rays are hard to focus into sharp images, the science team then used the X-ray telescope on Swift to determine a precise location.’
      • ‘In narrow inlets and coves, the wave can become focused or amplified, reaching tens of metres in height.’
    4. 1.4with object (of a lens) make (rays or waves) meet at a single point.
      • ‘And they were used for starting fires by focusing the rays of the sun.’
      • ‘When a lens is used to focus the sun's rays onto a piece of paper the distance of the paper from the lens is called the focal length.’
      • ‘Others used a magnifying glass to focus the rays of the sun on the base of the wart.’
      • ‘When a lens system optimally focuses an incoming ray bundle, the spread of passed wavelengths is in focus at a range of points in front of, on, and behind the sensor focal plane.’
      • ‘Telescopes designed to collect and focus X rays from space provide that vision.’
    5. 1.5no object (of light, radio waves, or other energy) become concentrated into a sharp beam of light or energy.
      • ‘If you have myopia, your eye is generally slightly out of round, with light rays focusing in front of the retina instead of directly on it.’
      • ‘The lights ceased blinking and focused clearly on the blue floored arena masked with fake fog.’
      • ‘Normally a light beam will focus to a point no smaller than about the size of the light's wavelength.’
      • ‘The moonbeams coalesced and focused into a single glowing stream.’
      • ‘Light can focus atoms into simple patterns for etching carbon-coated gold layers.’
      • ‘It produces heat and becomes a very powerful weapon when focused into a laser beam.’
      • ‘Designed much like a compound microscope, the electron microscope uses a beam of electrons focused through magnetic lenses.’
      • ‘Furthermore, I'm using exercises that keep that stress focused precisely where I want it.’
      • ‘In that time, the energy had focused and spiked beyond what I have ever felt before.’
      • ‘As she watched, the moonlight began focussing, moving, searching.’
      • ‘It works like your grappling hook did, but instead of string, it uses gravity focused into a ‘beam’ to connect it.’
      • ‘Sykes saw the electricity focus in-between the two prongs that were aimed at him.’
      • ‘Because the pump laser's light remains focused in a very narrow beam inside the fiber, it does not need to supply so many photons.’
      • ‘In the deep darkness it moved around quickly, setting up two water glasses on the table while the small light focused away from the two surrounding chairs.’
      • ‘The beams of multiple lasers focused in on one point.’
      • ‘The beam was directed into a customized Leica Metallux 3 microscope and focused at the sample surface via the objective lens.’
    6. 1.6with object (of a lens) concentrate (light, radio waves, or energy) into a sharp beam.
      • ‘The eye has a lens, and even ‘film’ (the retina), which detects light focused by the lens.’
      • ‘The lens stores and then focuses light from the video that you are capturing onto the image sensor located behind it.’
      • ‘Humans, indeed all seeing vertebrates, have so-called simple eyes: they have a single lens system, focusing light to form one, continuous image of the outside world.’
      • ‘Because the zone plate focuses to a point, it must match the focal length of the camera.’
      • ‘The transmitter is physically close to the optical fiber and may even have a lens to focus the light into the fiber.’
      • ‘The long focal length portion of the lens focuses to one fovea for viewing in air; the other short focal length focuses below water.’
      • ‘Materials called photonic crystals have the potential to focus visible light, but may not work as well with microwaves.’
      • ‘The images of the stomata were taken with the microscope focused to the narrowest part lower down in the pore.’
      • ‘The broadband IR beam passes through the sample chamber and is focused by a lens onto a spinning filter wheel.’
      • ‘In this sense, it can easily be seen how a camera's lens always focuses inward at least as much as it does outward toward the subject of the photographer's gaze.’
      • ‘In the simple experiment, a converging lens focuses laser light from two pinholes onto two different photodetectors.’
      • ‘Just like a camera lens, the eye's lens focuses light to form sharp, clear images.’
      • ‘These eyes use a single lens to focus images onto a light detector called a retina.’
      • ‘An objective lens focuses the light onto a region approximately 1 mm in diameter and subsequently collects the light returning from the target.’
      • ‘The first students to work on the cyclotron in the lab setting modified the magnet to better focus the proton beam.’
      • ‘Lenses on cameras not only focus the image but they may magnify or diminish the apparent size of a scene.’
      • ‘A lens focuses this light at the back focal plane of the objective to allow collimation at the sample.’
      bring into focus, bring to a focus
      View synonyms
  • 2focus onPay particular attention to.

    ‘the study will focus on a number of areas in Wales’
    • ‘Instead, they are learning to recognise Mia's feelings through her mood and body movements, instead of focussing on her face.’
    • ‘Yet we see precisely where his mind is looking, the places on which his concentration focuses: lapels, buttons, his accomplice's hand.’
    • ‘She would walk the halls ignoring everyone and only focusing on her studies and her revenge.’
    • ‘What do we lose by focusing on the detail rather than discerning the underlying patterns and meanings?’
    • ‘The study focussed on a period of time beginning four years before the casino opened and four years after.’
    • ‘As his heart started to race, he drew his attention inward, focussing on his breathing.’
    • ‘Instead they should be focussing on the over-55s who could decide the result of the next election, expected in May.’
    • ‘Organisers say the emphasis of the week will be very much focused on culture.’
    • ‘While he focuses on the kiwi dollar, he shows how the underlying issues are global.’
    • ‘More studies focusing on this particular problem are needed before a conclusion can be drawn.’
    emphasize, give emphasis to, stress, lay stress on, put stress on, highlight, accentuate, accent, call attention to, draw attention to, focus on, focus attention on, zero in on, spotlight, throw into relief, give prominence to, bring to the fore, foreground, bring home, point up, play up, make a feature of
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1with object Concentrate.
      ‘an opportunity to focus research on the health needs of the population’
      • ‘He concentrated, focusing his thoughts on the strange impressions he was receiving.’
      • ‘For example, the close range shield features quick, multiple hits, while the long-range weapon focuses in on powerful blows.’
      • ‘First, the overall plot focuses upon the hubris of an upper class that thinks itself above the powers of mortality.’
      • ‘Green is the one single colour that focuses directly on the retina, so it's the easiest colour for the eye to see.’
      • ‘According to dharma, or divine law, temple worship is important because it focuses our concentration on God.’
      • ‘The concentration on punishment damages the national debate by focussing all attention on revenge.’
      • ‘This retrospective focuses entirely on works held in British collections, spanning portraits, still lifes and landscapes.’
      • ‘The strategic plan focuses primarily on overall goals of the business and defining the business.’
      • ‘The two central planks to the strategy focus firstly on retaining existing customers in its core activities of mortgage lending and savings.’
      • ‘Two of the fighting stances for each character are based on real world martial arts, and the third style focuses solely on weapon-based combat.’
      concentrate, fix, centre, pivot, zero in, zoom in
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  • 3Linguistics
    with object Place the focus on (a part of a sentence).

Origin

Mid 17th century (as a term in geometry and physics): from Latin, literally ‘domestic hearth’.

Pronunciation

focus

/ˈfoʊkəs//ˈfōkəs/