1530s, from Fr. attraction
, from L. attractionem
) "a drawing together," noun of action from attractus
, pp. of attrahere
). Originally a medical word, "absorption by the body;" meaning "action of drawing to" is from 1540s (again medical); extended to magnetic, then figuratively to personal (c.1600) qualities. Meaning "a thing which draws a crowd, interesting or amusing exhibition" is from 1829, a sense that developed in English and soon transferred to the French equivalent of the word.