Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I saw George Will on TV and he used a word (and immediately defined it) but all I was heard was the definition, not the actual word. "Emmetropic" is the closest I can come to finding a word that meets the definition "simultaneously relaxed and focused" but it seems to have such a specific, physical, meaning and the context seemed to me to indicate a mental state rather than a physical one.

share|improve this question
    
Maybe you could tell us what topic he was addressing? –  KitFox May 12 '11 at 14:03
    
I like a lot of the suggestions, but most of these don't seem like words that someone would need to define immediately. –  KitFox May 12 '11 at 14:04
    
Reminds me of 'grace under pressure'. –  Hexagon Tiling Mar 31 '12 at 2:47
add comment

6 Answers

Try in the zone

adjective
1. In a mental state of focused concentration on the performance of an activity, in which one dissociates oneself from distracting or irrelevant aspects of one's environment.

Here's another definition

a temporary state of heightened concentration experienced by a performing athlete that enables peak performance (i.e. players in the zone)

share|improve this answer
add comment

This is probably jargon, but "flow" seems to describe what you mean.

Don't interrupt him, he's in the flow.

share|improve this answer
add comment

It sounds almost like he was talking about hypnosis. I think the hypnagogic state is one in which you are both relaxed and focused.

But it also might have been one of my favorite words, excogitation, which means to ponder or think intently about something. I love that word.

share|improve this answer
add comment

The word was probably "intent".

The man was intent on his work.

This implies a state of focus or deep involvement without stress or panic.

Less likely but still good alternatives might be "attentive", "earnest", "rapt", "preoccupied", "immersed", "engaged", or "concentrated".

share|improve this answer
add comment

Zen is a word used to describe a relaxed and focused meditative state.

I do my best work when I am in a state of Zen.

share|improve this answer
add comment

I would use the word "collected".

share|improve this answer
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.