to regard as resulting from a specified cause; consider as caused by something indicated (usually followed by to):
She attributed his bad temper to ill health.
to consider as a quality or characteristic of the person, thing, group, etc., indicated:
He attributed intelligence to his colleagues.
to consider as made by the one indicated, especially with strong evidence but in the absence of conclusive proof:
to attribute a painting to an artist.
to regard as produced by or originating in the time, period, place, etc., indicated; credit; assign:
to attribute a work to a particular period; to attribute a discovery to a particular country.
something attributed as belonging to a person, thing, group, etc.; a quality, character, characteristic, or property:
Sensitivity is one of his attributes.
something used as a symbol of a particular person, office, or status:
A scepter is one of the attributes of a king.
Grammar. a word or phrase that is syntactically subordinate to another and serves to limit, identify, particularize, describe, or supplement the meaning of the form with which it is in construction. In the red house, red is an attribute of house.
Fine Arts. an object associated with or symbolic of a character, office, or quality, as the keys of St. Peter or the lion skin of Hercules.
Philosophy. (in the philosophy of Spinoza) any of the essential qualifications of God, thought and extension being the only ones known.
Compare 1 (def 4b).
Logic. (in a proposition) that which is affirmed or denied concerning the subject.
Obsolete. distinguished character; reputation.
verb (əˈtrɪbjuːt)
(transitive) usually foll by to. to regard as belonging (to), produced (by), or resulting (from); ascribe (to): to attribute a painting to Picasso
noun (ˈætrɪˌbjuːt)
a property, quality, or feature belonging to or representative of a person or thing
an object accepted as belonging to a particular office or position

an adjective or adjectival phrase
an attributive adjective

(logic) the property, quality, or feature that is affirmed or denied concerning the subject of a proposition

late 14c., “assign, bestow,” from Latin attributus, past participle of attribuere “assign to, add, bestow;” figuratively “to attribute, ascribe, impute,” from ad- “to” + tribuere “assign, give, bestow” (see tribute). Related: Attributed; attributing.

“quality ascribed to someone,” late 14c., from Latin attributum “anything attributed,” noun use of neuter of attributus (see attribute (v.)). Distinguished from the verb by pronunciation.


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  • Attrit

    to wear down (an opposing military force) by numerical superiority in troops or firepower. verb (US, slang) (transitive) -trits, -tritting, -tritted to wear down or dispose of gradually to kill v. 1956, U.S. Air Force back-formation from attrition which attained currency during the Vietnam War. (A 17c. attempt at a verb produced attrite). Related: Attrited; […]

  • Attrite

    Also, attrited. worn by rubbing or attrition. to make smaller by attrition. adj. “worn down,” 1620s, from Latin attritus, past participle of atterere (see attrition).

  • Attriting

    Also, attrited. worn by rubbing or attrition. to make smaller by attrition. adj. “worn down,” 1620s, from Latin attritus, past participle of atterere (see attrition).

  • Attrition

    a reduction or decrease in numbers, size, or strength: Our club has had a high rate of attrition because so many members have moved away. a wearing down or weakening of resistance, especially as a result of continuous pressure or harassment: The enemy surrounded the town and conducted a war of attrition. a gradual reduction […]

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