• Attend


    • Rhymes: -ɛnd

    Origin 1

    From Middle English attenden, atenden, from Old English ātendan ("to set on fire, kindle, inflame, trouble, perplex"), equivalent to - + tend.

    Full definition of attend


    1. Alternative form of atend ("to kindle").

    Related terms

    Origin 2

    From Middle English attenden, atenden, from Old French atendre ("to attend, listen"), from Latin attendere ("to stretch toward, give heed to"), from ad ("to") + tendere ("to stretch"); see tend and compare attempt.


    1. (archaic, transitive) To listen to (something or someone); to pay attention to; regard; heed. from 15th c.
      • Sir Philip Sidney (1554-1586)The diligent pilot in a dangerous tempest doth not attend the unskilful words of the passenger.
    2. (archaic, intransitive) To listen (to, unto). from 15th c.
    3. (to turn one's consideration to, deal with)(intransitive) To turn one's consideration (to); to deal with (a task, problem, concern etc.), to look after. from 15th c.
      Secretaries attend to correspondence.
      • 1918, W. B. Maxwell, The Mirror and the Lamp Chapter 15, Edward Churchill still attended to his work in a hopeless mechanical manner like a sleep-walker who walks safely on a well-known round. But his Roman collar galled him, his cossack stifled him, his biretta was as uncomfortable as a merry-andrew's cap and bells.
    4. (transitive) To wait upon as a servant etc.; to accompany to assist (someone). from 15th c.
      Valets attend to their employer's wardrobe.
      • Edmund Spenser (c.1552–1599)The fifth had charge sick persons to attend.
      • William Shakespeare (1564-1616)Attends the emperor in his royal court.
      • Thomas Macaulay (1800-1859)With a sore heart and a gloomy brow, he prepared to attend William thither.
    5. (to be present at)(transitive) To be present at (an event or place) in order to take part in some action or proceedings. from 17th c.
      Children must attend primary school.
      • 1898, Winston Churchill, The Celebrity Chapter 5, In the eyes of Mr. Farquhar Fenelon Cooke the apotheosis of the Celebrity was complete. The people of Asquith were not only willing to attend the house-warming, but had been worked up to the pitch of eagerness. The Celebrity as a matter of course was master of ceremonies.
      • 1994, Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom, Abacus 2010, p. 20:I attended a one-room school next door to the palace and studied English, Xhosa, history and geography.
    6. To be present with; to accompany; to be united or consequent to.
      a measure attended with ill effects
      • John Dryden (1631-1700)What cares must then attend the toiling swain.
      • 1922, Ben Travers, A Cuckoo in the Nest Chapter 5, The most rapid and most seductive transition in all human nature is that which attends the palliation of a ravenous appetite. There is something humiliating about it....Can those harmless but refined fellow-diners be the selfish cads whose gluttony and personal appearance so raised your contemptuous wrath on your arrival?
    7. To wait for; to await; to remain, abide, or be in store for.
      • John Locke (1632-1705)the state that attends all men after this
      • John Dryden (1631-1700)Three days I promised to attend my doom.


    Related terms

    to be at an event
    to give attention to
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