Dictionary

1attribute

noun at·tri·bute \ˈa-trə-ˌbyüt\

: a usually good quality or feature that someone or something has

Full Definition of ATTRIBUTE

1
:  an inherent characteristic; also :  an accidental quality
2
:  an object closely associated with or belonging to a specific person, thing, or office <a scepter is the attribute of power>; especially :  such an object used for identification in painting or sculpture
3
:  a word ascribing a quality; especially :  adjective
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Examples of ATTRIBUTE

  1. The interviewer asked me what I consider to be my best attribute.
  2. Both candidates possess the attributes we want in a leader.

Origin of ATTRIBUTE

Middle English, from Latin attributus, past participle of attribuere to attribute, from ad- + tribuere to bestow — more at tribute
First Known Use: 14th century

Synonym Discussion of ATTRIBUTE

quality, property, character, attribute mean an intelligible feature by which a thing may be identified. quality is a general term applicable to any trait or characteristic whether individual or generic <material with a silky quality>. property implies a characteristic that belongs to a thing's essential nature and may be used to describe a type or species <the property of not conducting heat>. character applies to a peculiar and distinctive quality of a thing or a class <remarks of an unseemly character>. attribute implies a quality ascribed to a thing or a being <the attributes of a military hero>.

2attribute

verb at·trib·ute \ə-ˈtri-ˌbyüt, -byət\
at·trib·ut·edat·trib·ut·ing

Definition of ATTRIBUTE

transitive verb
1
:  to explain by indicating a cause <attributed his success to his coach>
2
a :  to regard as a characteristic of a person or thing
b :  to reckon as made or originated in an indicated fashion <attributed the invention to a Russian>
c :  classify, designate
at·trib·ut·able \-byü-tə-bəl, -byə-\ adjective

Examples of ATTRIBUTE

  1. <attributed the quick rescue to the well-trained police force>
  2. <a psychotherapist who's a little too quick to attribute every emotional problem or character defect to an unhappy childhood>

First Known Use of ATTRIBUTE

1530

Synonym Discussion of ATTRIBUTE

ascribe, attribute, assign, impute, credit mean to lay something to the account of a person or thing. ascribe suggests an inferring or conjecturing of cause, quality, authorship <forged paintings formerly ascribed to masters>. attribute suggests less tentativeness than ascribe , less definiteness than assign <attributed to Rembrandt but possibly done by an associate>. assign implies ascribing with certainty or after deliberation <assigned the bones to the Cretaceous period>. impute suggests ascribing something that brings discredit by way of accusation or blame <tried to impute sinister motives to my actions>. credit implies ascribing a thing or especially an action to a person or other thing as its agent, source, or explanation <credited his teammates for his success>.
ATTRIBUTE Defined for Kids

1attribute

noun at·tri·bute \ˈa-trə-ˌbyüt\

Definition of ATTRIBUTE for Kids

:  a quality belonging to a particular person or thing <Patience is a good attribute for a teacher.>

2attribute

verb at·trib·ute \ə-ˈtri-byət\
at·trib·ut·edat·trib·ut·ing

Definition of ATTRIBUTE for Kids

1
:  to explain as the cause of <We attribute their success to hard work.>
2
:  to think of as likely to be a quality of a person or thing <Some people attribute stubbornness to mules.>

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