- 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 mode1(def 4b).
- Logic. (in a proposition) that which is affirmed or denied concerning the subject.
- Obsolete. distinguished character; reputation.
Origin of attribute
- (tr usually foll by to) to regard as belonging (to), produced (by), or resulting (from); ascribe (to)to attribute a painting to Picasso
- 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
Word Origin for attribute
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.