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[uh-tach] /əˈtætʃ/
verb (used with object)
to fasten or affix; join; connect:
to attach a photograph to an application with a staple.
to join in action or function; make part of:
to attach oneself to a group.
Military. to place on temporary duty with or in assistance to a military unit.
to include as a quality or condition of something:
One proviso is attached to this legacy.
to assign or attribute:
to attach significance to a gesture.
to bind by ties of affection or regard:
You always attach yourself to people who end up hurting you.
Law. to take (persons or property) by legal authority.
Obsolete. to lay hold of; seize.
verb (used without object)
to adhere; pertain; belong (usually followed by to or upon):
No blame attaches to him.
Origin of attach
1300-50; Middle English atachen < Anglo-French atacher to seize, Old French atachier to fasten, alteration of estachier to fasten with or to a stake, equivalent to estach(e) (< Germanic *stakka stake1) + -ier infinitive suffix
Related forms
attachable, adjective
attacher, noun
reattach, verb
reattachable, adjective
unattachable, adjective
Can be confused
attach, attaché.
1. subjoin, append, add, annex.
1. detach. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
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Examples from the Web for attaching
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • This it effects partly by attaching silken threads from the protuberance at the base to the surrounding surface of the leaf.

  • Knowledge is like the root of a tree, attaching man by its tendrils to the life about him.

    The Hero William Somerset Maugham
  • At convenient intervals have outlets for attaching the hoses leading to the torch.

  • The whole of the pegs are notched, for the convenience of attaching a line.

    Practical Taxidermy Montagu Browne
  • He is an inept critic who thrives by attaching his name to great reputations.

    The Critical Game John Albert Macy
British Dictionary definitions for attaching


verb (mainly transitive)
to join, fasten, or connect
(reflexive or passive) to become associated with or join, as in a business or other venture: he attached himself to the expedition
(intransitive) foll by to. to be inherent (in) or connected (with): responsibility attaches to the job
to attribute or ascribe: to attach importance to an event
to include or append, esp as a condition: a proviso is attached to the contract
(usually passive) (military) to place on temporary duty with another unit
(usually passive) to put (a member of an organization) to work in a different unit or agency, either with an expectation of reverting to, or while retaining some part of, the original working arrangement
to appoint officially
(law) to arrest or take (a person, property, etc) with lawful authority
(obsolete) to seize
Derived Forms
attachable, adjective
attacher, noun
Word Origin
C14: from Old French atachier to fasten, changed from estachier to fasten with a stake, from estachestake1
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for attaching



mid-14c. (mid-13c. in Anglo-Latin), "to take or seize (property or goods) by law," a legal term, from Old French atachier (11c.), earlier estachier "to attach, fix; stake up, support" (Modern French attacher, also cf. Italian attaccare), perhaps from a- "to" + Frankish *stakon "a post, stake" or a similar Germanic word (see stake (n.)). Meaning "to fasten, affix, connect" is from c.1400. Related: Attached; attaching.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Idioms and Phrases with attaching


The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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