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I'm looking for a better adjective that means focused in the sense of "intense concentration" like an elite warrior in battle. I guess it doesn't even need the sense of having blinders on, more about being "in the zone".

The problem with focused or concentrated (even worse) is that it can apply to too many other things. The word should apply to a person focused on an activity.

It needs to be one word, an adjective, not a noun or verb. Does such a word exist or is focused the best English has to offer?

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Some nice tries but not quite what I'm after. Rapt, engrossed, etc. mean something like "swept away". I want something that means the person is in control and purposely focusing their energy at a task/situation. It should also be unemotional if possible. –  Moss Jan 31 '12 at 6:40

6 Answers 6

You might try intent or fixated; also, a word that seems to capture being in the zone and enjoying it: rapt.

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I really like rapt. –  Paul Richter Jan 31 '12 at 1:03
Intent is on the right track, but a little weak. –  Moss Jan 31 '12 at 6:44
Per thesaurus.com, intent "implies a sustained unbroken commitment or purpose." –  Gnawme Jan 31 '12 at 7:23
+1 for rapt, new word for me, although the idea of pleasure involved makes it hard to apply to all contexts –  Vladtn Jan 31 '12 at 13:02

A one word (adjective), but depending on the context which is hard to judge, maybe acute, sharp or fixated. Applied to martial arts a common two words combination is "intense/impeccable concentration/focus".

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What about concentrated? I think it works.

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  • Riveted
  • Centered
  • Attentive
  • Absorbed
  • Engrossed
  • Engaged
  • Occupied
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I would suggest 'purposeful' as a more appropriate synonym to 'focused' than some of the words already mentioned, none of which really captures the nuanced meaning of focused. Rapt can only be used naturally in certain contexts. Alternatively maybe a phrase rather than a word is needed to properly convey the same meaning.

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The term flow could be the one you're after, despite the fact that it doesn’t really sound like an adjective.

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Please explain how that can mean 'focused' as in the question. –  TrevorD Sep 6 '13 at 23:59

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