at·​tach·​ment | \ə-ˈtach-mənt \
plural attachments

Definition of attachment 

1 : a seizure by legal process also : the writ or precept commanding such seizure

2a : the state of being personally attached : fidelity attachment to a cause

b : affectionate regard a deep attachment to nature

c psychology : a strong emotional bond that an infant forms with a caregiver (such as a mother) especially when viewed as a basis for normal emotional and social development Of course, the mother provides food and warmth, but for the purposes of attachment what really matters is the sense of safety, comfort, and refuge the mother provides.— Henry Gleitman et al. also : the process by which an infant forms such an emotional bond Healthy attachment, via attuned parenting, equips human beings for resilience, success, and emotional, psychological, and physiological well-being. — Lindsey Porter

3 : a device attached to a machine or implement

4 : the physical connection by which one thing is attached to another

5 : the process of physically attaching

6 : a separate document or file that is included and sent with an electronic message (such as an e-mail or text message) The trick to sending attachments successfully is to know what e-mail program and operating system your recipient uses.— Adam C. Engst

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Synonyms & Antonyms for attachment


affection, devotedness, devotion, fondness, love, passion


abomination, hate, hatred, loathing, rancor

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Examples of attachment in a Sentence

The vacuum cleaner attachments help clean in tight spaces. I need a longer attachment for the drill. I'll send the document as an attachment to my next e-mail.
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Recent Examples on the Web

MobiLimb is a robotic finger attachment that plugs in through a smartphone’s Micro USB port, moves using five servo motors, and is powered by an Arduino microcontroller. Dami Lee, The Verge, "This robotic finger attachment for your smartphone will gently caress your hand," 5 Oct. 2018 Other royals also have a strong attachment to the Royal Air Force, such as Prince William and Prince Charles, who have both served as pilots. Megan Friedman, Harper's BAZAAR, "Why Kate Middleton Broke Maternity Leave to Attend the Royal Air Force Anniversary," 10 July 2018 Its biggest surprise, though, was an attachment from none other than Rod Rosenstein, Mueller’s direct supervisor. Cristian Farias, Daily Intelligencer, "Mueller (Quietly) Keeps Turning Up the Heat," 5 Apr. 2018 The orchid’s association in Chinese culture with such virtues as elegance, good taste, friendship, and fertility goes all the way back to Confucius himself, who was said to have a particular attachment to the flowers. Lawrence Osborne, Town & Country, "The Hidden Power of Orchids," 14 Apr. 2017 The mayor wants his son to inherit the family business with no emotional attachments and steps between Jimmy Ray and his intended. Lawrence Toppman, charlotteobserver, "‘Bright Star,’ a musical tale of NC mountain life, glows steadily and endearingly," 27 June 2018 In the bowl of a stand mixer using the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl using a hand mixer, cream the butter over medium speed just until creamy. Noelle Carter,, "Celebrate National Peanut Butter Cookie Day with this recipe," 12 June 2018 Paddock used a bump-stock attachment that made his semiautomatic rifle fire nearly as rapidly as an automatic weapon — nine percussive bangs every second. Cleve R. Wootson Jr., Washington Post, "An Indiana educator survived the mass shooting in Las Vegas — and then a shooting at her school," 10 June 2018 In a mixer using the paddle attachment, combine the butter and shortening. Rochelle Riley, Detroit Free Press, "Five finalists vie for 'Best Cupcake Ever' in contest to support literacy," 22 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'attachment.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of attachment

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Last Updated

14 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for attachment

The first known use of attachment was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for attachment



English Language Learners Definition of attachment

: an extra part that can be used with a machine to make it do a particular job

: strong feelings of affection or loyalty for someone or something

: a document or file that is sent with e-mail


at·​tach·​ment | \ə-ˈtach-mənt \

Kids Definition of attachment

1 : connection by feelings of affection or regard The children had a strong attachment to their grandmother.

2 : an extra part that can be attached to a machine or tool vacuum cleaner attachments

3 : a connection by which one thing is joined to another The attachment that connects the oar to the rowboat is broken.


at·​tach·​ment | \ə-ˈtach-mənt \

Medical Definition of attachment 

1 : a strong emotional bond that an infant forms with a caregiver (such as a mother) especially when viewed as a basis for normal emotional and social development also : the process by which an infant forms an attachment

2 : the physical connection by which one thing is attached to another sever the attachments of a muscle to a bone

Other Words from attachment

attach \ ə-​ˈtach \ verb

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Comments on attachment

What made you want to look up attachment? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


playful or foolish behavior

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