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.
(in the philosophy of Spinoza) any of the essential qualifications of God, thought and extension being the only ones known.
Logic. (in a proposition) that which is affirmed or denied concerning the subject.
Obsolete. distinguished character; reputation.
1350–1400; Middle English
< 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
attributable, adjectiveattributer, attributor, nounmisattribute, verb, misattributed, misattributing.nonattributable, adjectivereattribute, verb (used with object), reattributed, reattributing.unattributable, adjectiveunattributably, adverbunattributed, adjectivewell-attributed, adjective
1. 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.