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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

13 Answers 13

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
  • Riveted
  • Centered
  • Attentive
  • Absorbed
  • Engrossed
  • Engaged
  • Occupied
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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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You may use assiduity.

When you do something with assiduity, you really focus your attention on it. If you work with assiduity on a research paper, you're sure to get an A.

Successful businessmen all make great use of their assiduity to get what they want and do their best work.

Your Question: The word should apply to a person focused on an activity.


In my first example the focus is on a research paper to get it published.

In second example the businessman is focused on his business to thrive.

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Immersed is the most fitting one I can think of that hasn't been mentioned. "Immersed in battle" lands me 3310 hits on google book search, though it isn't clear if they refer to it in a more literal sense.


  1. involve oneself deeply in a particular activity or interest.
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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

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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hyper- + focused


hyperfocused (comparative more hyperfocused, superlative most hyperfocused) Extremely focused; unwavering

"While Brown distracted the usually hyperfocused Mangini, safety Kerry Rhodes and linebackers Eric Barton and Jonathan Vilma grabbed a cooler of Gatorade and surreptitiously assumed their positions according to plan."


Hyperfocus is an intense form of mental concentration or visualization that focuses consciousness on a subject, topic, or task. In some individuals, various subjects or topics may also include daydreams, concepts, fiction, the imagination, and other objects of the mind. Hyperfocus on a certain subject can cause side-tracking away from assigned or important tasks. Hyperfocus may bear a relationship to the concept of flow.1 In some circumstances both flow and hyperfocus can be an aid to achievement, but in other circumstance or situations, the same focus and behavior could be a liability, distracting from the task at hand. However, unlike hyperfocus, "flow" is often described in more glowing terms, suggesting they are not two sides of the same condition under contrasting circumstance or intellect.

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Having or concentrating on only one aim or purpose: the single-minded pursuit of profit

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When you inhabit a place, you live there. When actors inhabit their roles, they seem to become the characters, no longer actors reciting their lines. It is like they live the life of the character.


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Perhaps 'transfixed', though it doesn't have the entire meaning.

Mary was focussed on her task.

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It is a good idea to provide some support for your answer such as a dictionary definition or a usage example from a reputable source. A comment by the OP asks for a synonym that emphasizes volition. I think transfixed is more like stunned or awe struck. – Phil Sweet Apr 26 at 16:43

Unswerving might work in that context.

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protected by Mitch May 11 '15 at 23:59

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