1. an act of attaching or the state of being attached.
  2. a feeling that binds one to a person, thing, cause, ideal, or the like; devotion; regard: a fond attachment to his cousin; a profound attachment to the cause of peace.
  3. Psychology.
    1. an emotional bond between an infant or toddler and primary caregiver, a strong bond being vital for the child’s normal behavioral and social development.
    2. an enduring emotional bond that develops between one adult and another in an intimate relationship: romantic attachment.
    See also attachment disorder, attachment theory.
  4. something that attaches; a fastening or tie: the attachments of a harness; the attachments of a pair of skis.
  5. an additional or supplementary device: attachments for an electric drill.
  6. Law. seizure of property or person by legal authority, especially seizure of a defendant's property to prevent its dissipation before trial or to acquire jurisdiction over it.
  7. something attached, as a document added to a letter.
  8. a computer or electronic file sent with an email.

Origin of attachment

1400–50; late Middle English attachement seizure < Anglo-French. See attach, -ment
Related formsnon·at·tach·ment, nouno·ver·at·tach·ment, nounpre·at·tach·ment, nounre·at·tach·ment, nounself-at·tach·ment, nounsu·per·at·tach·ment, noun

Synonyms for attachment

Synonym study

5. See addition. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for preattachment


  1. a means of securing; a fastening
  2. (often foll by to) affection or regard (for); devotion (to)attachment to a person or to a cause
  3. an object to be attached, esp a supplementary partan attachment for an electric drill
  4. the act of attaching or the state of being attached
    1. the arrest of a person for disobedience to a court order
    2. the lawful seizure of property and placing of it under control of a court
    3. a writ authorizing such arrest or seizure
  5. law the binding of a debt in the hands of a garnishee until its disposition has been decided by the court
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 preattachment



c.1400, "arrest of a person on judicial warrant" (mid-13c. in Anglo-Latin), from French attachement, from attacher (see attach). Application to property (including, later, wages) dates from 1590s; meaning "sympathy, devotion" is recorded from 1704; that of "something that is attached to something else" dates from 1797 and has become perhaps the most common use since the rise of e-mail.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper