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I'm looking for the most common and natural ways to say this in Latin. Of the words provided as translations for 'concentrate' in Latin, ie, 'conlineo', 'contineo', 'congrego', only the last is sometimes used figuratively for focusing the mind's attention. But when I looked at the one example provided it was focusing violence on something:

quanta uis illa fuerit oriens et congregata CIC. Dom. 67;

Which was translated as:

how great that violence was at its first rise, and when first collected together

So 'concentration' is out, the Romans didn't use that words a figure of speech for the focusing the mind's attention. So now I'm looking for similar ways to say this in English, such as, 'devote resources to', 'put effort into', etc. I did find something with 'contentio':

ut neque eloquentia maiore quisquam nec grauitate nec studio nec contentione agere potuerit Cicero, Fam. 1.1.2

This sort of looks like what I'm after. 'Attentio' and 'adtentio' also seem to be promising though they are often used in the comparative 'adtentior'. Here's one example that seems to be what I'm after

ars demonstrat tantum,
ubi quaeras, atque ubi sit illud, quod studeas invenire;
reliqua sunt in cura, attentione animi, cogitatione, vigilantia,
adsiduitate, labore; complectar uno verbo, quo saepe iam
usi sumus, diligentia; qua una virtute omnes virtutes reliquae continentur. Cicero, On Oratory

However, looking at the entry in the OLD of 'attendo' it looks like this means more simply 'listening' rather than 'concentrating your mental energy'.

attendō ~dere, ~dī, ~tum tr. intr. Also adt-. [ad- + tendō] 1 animum ~dere, To pay attention, listen carefully. ▶ cum silentio animum ~dite, ut pernoscatis TER. Eu. 44; animum coepi ~dere, hoc modo sermonem captans Ph. 868; quo tempore ‥ auris iudex erigeret animumque ~deret? CIC. Ver. 1.28; —(with dative) dictis animum ~das postulo LUCIL. 693; 851; —(with ad) sed ~dite animos ad ea quae consequuntur CIC. Agr. 2.38. b (with object clause) to learn by listening, observe. ▶ nunc quam rem uitio dent quaeso animum ~dite TER. An. 8; iubet peritos linguae ~dere animum, pastorum sermo agresti an urbano propior esset LIV. 10.4.9. c to study or examine a matter closely; to apply oneself (to a purpose). ▶ si, cum animum ~deris, turpitudinem uideas adiunctam ei rei CIC. Off. 3.35; GEL. 10.11.6; —(with ad) cum animum ~disset ad cauendum NEP. Alc. 5.2. 2 aurem ~dere, To listen hard. ▶ aurem ~do, ut quirem exaudire amplius ACC. trag. 281. 3 animo ~dere: a to listen to. ▶ (with clause) nunc quid petam ‥ aequo animo ~dite TER. Hec. 28. b to apply oneself (to), concentrate the attention. ▶ (with ad) sed cum animo (cj. animum) ~di ad quaerendum PAC. trag. 17; (absol.) quis enim, cum utatur uoluptate ea ‥ ~dere animo ‥ potest? CIC. Hort. fr.81. 4 a (absol.) To be an attentive listener, pay attention. ▶ ~de, quaeso, Piso CIC. Q. Rosc. 37; audi, audi atque ~de, Laterensis Planc. 98; cogendus est et ~dere, et ediscere aliquid CELS. 3.18.21; rursus ‥ alium custodem dari qui ~dat PLIN. Nat. 28.11; MART. 6.42.22; QUINT. Inst. 8.3.5; PLIN. Ep. 7.27.5; (with animus as subject) excitabunturque animi, ut ~dant CIC. Part. 121; [QUINT.] Decl. 4.14; (in a letter) quaeso, ~de et me ‥ consilio iuua CIC. Att. 11.22.2; (in a fable) pretium est operae ~dere PHAED. 2.5.6; —(with dative) iurat in leges ~dentibus dis (nam cui magis quam Caesari attendant?) PLIN. Pan. 65.2. b (with accusative) to listen to carefully, pay close attention to, mark. ▶ uersus aeque prima et media et extrema pars ~ditur CIC. de Orat. 3.192; nunc hoc ~dite Ver. 2.185; neglegentius ~dunt cetera Clu. 116; —(with personal object) erigite mentis aurisque uestras et me ‥ dicentem ~dite! Sul. 33; quoniam me ‥ tam diligenter ~ditis Arch. 18; ~do te studiose Fin. 3.40; Pisces ‥ cupiunt ‥ ~dere Taurum MAN. 2.514. c (with clause) to learn by listening or paying attention. ▶ excipere uoces eorum et procul quid narrarent ~dere CIC. de Orat. 2.153; LIV. 27.47.3; ~de cur negare cupidis debeas PHAED. 2.pr.14. 5 a To be an observer, watch closely. ▶ saecula Romanos numquam tacitura labores ~dunt LUC. 8.623; numquid ‥ uidisti ‥ iuuencam ‥? — non satis ~di CALP. Ecl. 3.7; STAT. Theb. 11.419; (poet.) ~dit toruo tristis Rhamnusia uultu Silv. 2.6.73. b (with accusative) to guard, watch. ▶ illam ‥ tempore in omni ~dunt uigiles STAT. Theb. 12.352. 6 a To pay close attention, be observant. ▶ ut caelestia, ut diuina ‥ ex quibus ‥ si ~das, ad augendum permulta suppetunt CIC. Part. 56; quod ‥ sentire, quia sum Romae et quia curo ~doque, possum Fam. 4.13.4; Tusc. 4.67; hi tutiores quidem sunt ‥ si ~dunt CELS. 2.8.26; MELA 1.1; SEN. Ep. 47.16; id manifestum fiet adtendentibus PLIN. Nat. 18.275; interius si ~das, magis illa iuuant, quae pluris ementur JUV. 11.16; —(with dative) ~deres Physicis QUINT. Decl. 283(p.148,l.3); ut non tantum uniuersitati eius (sc. sermonis) ~das PLIN. Ep. 1.8.3; SUET. Gal. 5.1. b (with accusative) to examine or study closely, look into, pay close attention to. ▶ ea nos commodius quam ceteros ~disse non affirmamus CIC. Inv. 1.77; quae si diligenter ~detis Font. 43; animaduertat ~datque naturas auium VITR. 1.4.7; multas res ~dens 9.pr.14; causam eius ~dere CELS. 3.22.4. c (with dative) to take notice of, heed (rules, rumours, etc.). ▶ his rationibus ~dens VITR. 4.3.3; ne sermonibus quidem malignis aut ~dit aut alitur PLIN. Ep. 7.26.2. 7 To note, observe, mark. ▶ stuporem hominis uel dicam pecudis ~dite CIC. Phil. 2.30; ut nouum calamitatis genus ~das Att. 3.10.2; suorum et hostium res pariter ~dere SAL. Jug. 88.2; ~do egregiam formae compositionem VITR. 2.pr.3; pecudum mortes auiumque ~dere cantus MAN. 4.914; —(with accusative and infinitive) non ~dit eum qui patefecerit hoc curasse CIC. Sul. 4; Luc. 111; VITR. 1.pr.2; —(with accusative and participle) similiter exeuntem umbram e circulo ~demus HYG. GR. agrim. p.152; —(with indirect question) cum ~do qua prudentia sit Hortensius CIC. Quinct. 63; ~de quo serpat (argumentum) N.D. 1.98; SAL. Cat. 53.2; ~demus quem ad modum ‥ umbra cohibeatur HYG. GR. agrim. p.152. 8 To give one’s attention to, attend to, deal with. ▶ modo illud ~datur, dignane causa uideatur CIC. Inv. 2.175; parua res est, sed tu bene ~disti Att. 15.26.4; ~dit ipse: nulla pars sacri perit SEN. Thy. 695; curate agros ~dere ULP. dig. 32.1.68.1; —(with de) cum de necessitate ~demus, etiam si non necessarium aliquid uidebitur, uidendum tamen erit quam sit id magnum CIC. Part. 84; (cf.) ut nihil possit de officiis legationis ~dere Phil. 12.26; (cf. with sense 9) eo tempore ~dendum est, ne quid fiat, quod ualetudinem impediat CELS. 3.16.1. 9 To set one’s mind (to a task), take trouble, exert oneself. ▶ postquam ~di magis et ui coepi cogere ut rediret TER. Hec. 267; —(with conjunction and another verb) his ‥ ex partibus iuris ‥ ~dere atque elicere pertemptando unam quamque iuris partem oportebit CIC. Inv. 2.68; cum plura sint ambigui genera ‥ ~dere et aucupari uerba oportebit de Orat. 2.256; —(with infinitive) si ‥ hanc ego discere artem ~derim POMPON. com. 63; ACC. trag. 279; —(with ut, ne) nosti facetias hominis; quas uelim ~das ne in bilem ‥ uertat iniuria PLIN. Ep. 6.8.8; debet ‥ iudex ~dere, ut ‥ neque maioris neque minoris summa posita condemnet GAIUS Inst. 4.52. 10 To spread out, stretch, extend; (pass.) to extend, stretch towards. ▶ mirabile monstrum caudam Helicen super ~dens GERM. Arat. 51; (with dative) caelo manus ~dentes APUL. Met. 11.13; —(pass.) caulae firmae solidis cratibus ‥ porrectis undique lateribus ante fores ‥ ~duntur 4.6; (with dative) nemus quod fluuio praeterluenti ripisque longis ~ditur 6.11.

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I think it's helpful to enumerate the elements that make up the concept you are trying to express. For me at least, concentration has three elements:

Mental focus that is

  1. intense
  2. sustained for some time
  3. on a specific object to the exclusion of other concerns

It may be the case that a combination of verb and modifiers are required to express all three elements.

Defigere works pretty well, though it requires expressing the object, e.g., mentem, animum.

Omissis ceteris argumentis in eo mentem orationemque defigit.

Ignoring the other arguments, he concentrates his mind and speech on that one.

Cicero, De oratore 3.31

Incumbo also shows promise, though it requires an adverbial phrase such as toto pectore or tota mente to achieve the whole desired effect.

ut dimissa priore cura novae cogitationi toto pectore incumbam.

so that, with my previous concern discharged, I will be able to concentrate wholeheartedly on a new project.

Tacitus, Dialogus de Oratoribus, 3.3.5

Quapropter incumbe toto animo et studio omni in rationem qua adhuc usus es...

Hence, focus with all your thought and energy on that line of reasoning that you've been using up to now...

Cicero, Epistulae ad Quintum Fratrem, 1.1.27

Verbs such as animadverto and attendo may also be close to the desired meaning, but I think that, at best, they mean "to consider" or "to take account of" something, without necessarily implying intensity or exclusion.

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  • Cool, thanks your time.
    – bobsmith76
    Oct 15 at 18:46

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