|1.||to draw (notice, a crowd of observers, etc) to oneself by conspicuous behaviour or appearance (esp in the phrase attract attention)|
|2.||(also intr) to exert a force on (a body) that tends to cause an approach or oppose a separation: the gravitational pull of the earth attracts objects to it|
|3.||to possess some property that pulls or draws (something) towards itself: jam attracts wasps|
|4.||(also intr) to exert a pleasing, alluring, or fascinating influence (upon); be attractive (to)|
|[C15: from Latin attrahere to draw towards, from trahere to pull]|
|attractor (ə-trāk'tər) Pronunciation Key
A set of states of a dynamic physical system toward which that system tends to evolve, regardless of the starting conditions of the system. ◇ A point attractor is an attractor consisting of a single state. For example, a marble rolling in a smooth, rounded bowl will always come to rest at the lowest point, in the bottom center of the bowl; the final state of position and motionlessness is a point attractor. ◇ A periodic attractor is an attractor consisting of a finite or infinite set of states, where the evolution of the system results in moving cyclically through each state. The ideal orbit of a planet around a star is a periodic attractor, as are periodic oscillations. A periodic attractor is also called a limit-cycle. ◇ A strange attractor is an attractor for which the evolution through the set of possible physical states is nonperiodic (chaotic), resulting in an evolution through a set of states defining a fractal set. Most real physical systems (including the actual orbits of planets) involve strange attractors.