Rapped, Rapt or Wrapped? What Kind of Attention Do You Pay?


It’s a phrase you may not hear that often, but when it comes to taking careful note of something, are you paying rapped, rapt or wrapped attention to it?

I saw the headline at a website called Supermarket News. The headline read, “Wrapped attention.” It’s a curious-looking phrase, although I know there is such a phrase.

The article’s second line helped explain why it looked so strange: “Image is everything when it comes to private-label packaging.”

That provides a clear clue that the article, which is focused on the outer wrapping of grocery products, features a headline that just happens to be a clever play on words.

Let’s look at the three choices and what the dictionary has to say about them:

Rapped is a form of the verb rap, which has multiple meanings: it can mean to strike, as in rapping on a door; to speak frankly, as in “rap sessions” popularized in the 1960s; or to perform a specific style of music. It can even mean to sharply criticize, although that usage seems less common these days.

Rapt is an adjective that can mean lifted up and carried away, transported with emotion (enraptured), or wholly absorbed (engrossed).

Wrapped is a form of the verb wrap, which has multiple meanings. It can mean to cover, to envelop and secure, to enfold or embrace, to surround, to conceal, or to enclose. On movie and television sets, to wrap means to complete the production.

I hope you noticed the definition that would make the most sense if you’re talking about someone paying complete attention to something else. Yes, when choosing between rapped, rapt or wrapped, the right word choice here would be rapt. Someone paying rapt attention to something or someone is engrossed in the object of that attention.

Which unusual phrases have you heard recently that seemed to not make sense?


  1. Well, without reading the above article, I would say a good ft is wrapped, I pay rapt attention to science, and I might rap on your door to announce my presence. How’d I do? Once you answer, I’ll read the post!

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Patrick is a Christian with more than 27 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.