1. pertaining to or having the character of attribution or an attribute.
  2. Grammar. of or relating to an adjective or noun that is directly adjacent to, in English usually preceding, the noun it modifies, without any intervening linking verb, as the adjective sunny in a sunny day or the noun television in a television screen.
  1. Grammar. an attributive word, especially an adjective.

Origin of attributive

First recorded in 1600–10
Related formsat·trib·u·tive·ly, adverbat·trib·u·tive·ness, nounnon·at·trib·u·tive, adjectivenon·at·trib·u·tive·ly, adverbnon·at·trib·u·tive·ness, nounun·at·trib·u·tive, adjectiveun·at·trib·u·tive·ly, adverbun·at·trib·u·tive·ness, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for attributively


  1. relating to an attribute
  2. grammar (of an adjective or adjectival phrase) modifying a noun and constituting part of the same noun phrase, in English normally preceding the noun, as black in Fido is a black dog (as opposed to Fido is black)Compare predicative
  3. philosophy relative to an understood domain, as small in that elephant is small
  1. an attributive adjective
Derived Formsattributively, adverbattributiveness, noun
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

Word Origin and History for attributively



c.1600, from French attributif, from stem of Latin attributus (see attribute (v.)). As a noun, in grammar, from 1750. Related: Attributively; attributiveness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper