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When someone is thinking something hard, he might be looking somewhere else rather than at one whom he is talking. Which word/phrase can I use for describing his behaviour?

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You might say that "he stared off into space", or that "his eyes glazed over", or that "his eyes focused on nothing" while he thought.

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    +1 for "he stared off into space." A variation would be "he spaced out." If we wanted a single word, we could simply use distracted. – J.R. Oct 29 '13 at 21:49
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You can use the following:

  • abstracted - not giving attention to what is happening around you because you are thinking about something else
  • oblivious - not conscious of something, especially what is happening around you
  • be miles away - to not be conscious of what is happening around you because you are thinking about something else
  • in a world of your own (in another world) - thinking your own thoughts and ideas and not giving much attention to what is happening around you; not giving much attention to what is happening around you, because you are thinking about something else
  • have a faraway look - If you have a faraway expression, you look as though you are not thinking about what is happening around you; an expression that makes you appear to be thinking about something completely different from what is going on around you
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a better more appropriate word would be "Zoned out" - Zoned out can also mean lost in thought. ex: We were discussing the report but he zoned out for a brief moment and exclaimed "Ah! I've got it!!".

  • Not bad, though it sort of implies he wasn't thinking anything or if he was it had nothing to do with the conversation. – Luke Sawczak Jul 4 '17 at 11:45
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    Please edit to include an explanation of why this is correct; answers without explanation do not teach the patterns of the language well. See the Submitting Answers that merely answer the question discussion on meta. – Nathan Tuggy Jul 4 '17 at 14:05

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