Origin: 1350–1400; Middle English Related forms
< Latin attribūtus
allotted, assigned, imputed to (past participle of attribuere
), equivalent to at- at-
(stem of tribuere
to assign (to tribes), classify, ascribe; see tribe
) + -tus
past participle suffix
at·trib·ut·er, at·trib·u·tor, noun
mis·at·trib·ute, verb, mis·at·trib·ut·ed, mis·at·trib·ut·ing.
re·at·trib·ute, verb (used with object), re·at·trib·ut·ed, re·at·trib·ut·ing.
Synonyms1. Attribute, ascribe, impute
imply definite origin. Attribute
are often used interchangeably, to imply that something originates with a definite person or from a definite cause. Ascribe
however, has neutral implications; whereas, possibly because of an association with tribute, attribute
is coming to have a complimentary connotation: to ascribe an accident to carelessness; to attribute one's success to a friend's encouragement. Impute
has gained uncomplimentary connotations, and usually means to accuse or blame someone or something as a cause or origin: to impute an error to him. 5.