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

Nilay also explains the situation with Foxconn building a factory in Wisconsin and his personal attachment to the area. Andrew Marino, The Verge, "Vergecast: MacBook Air, iPad Pro, and Foxconn," 2 Nov. 2018 Instead, their irrational attachment to steady payments pushes companies to borrow and to cut back the business in bad times to maintain the payment. James Mackintosh, WSJ, "GE Shows What Happens When Dividend Investing Goes Wrong," 1 Nov. 2018 Different interest groups, each with their obsessive attachment to a particular tradition associated with the Alamo, take turns stepping forward to raise a ruckus. Gilbert Garcia, San Antonio Express-News, "Alamo Plaza redesign effort confronts stubborn fear of change," 30 June 2018 Celebrity is a hallowed but haunting domain, and Beyoncé’s fans are not alone in their acute attachment to—and ardent defense of—an artist of outsize cultural importance. Hannah Giorgis, The Atlantic, "Do Beyoncé Fans Have to Forgive Jay-Z?," 18 June 2018 His solo track is halfway between a jazz standard and R&B ballad, showcasing his attachment to antiquated sounds. Billboard Staff, Billboard, "BTS' 50 Best Songs: Critics' Picks," 12 June 2018 Your attachment to her would have been incredibly strong and the ensuing heartache would be that much worse. Anna Pulley, RedEye Chicago, "Ask Anna: I'm pissed she just wants to be friends," 16 Apr. 2018 But my daughter is not alone with her odd attachment. Redbook, "Parenting," 6 Oct. 2011 Using the whisk attachment, mix on high for three minutes until the mixture is frothy. Alison Roman, The Seattle Times, "‘We are all connected by cookies’: A tribe with a bond stronger than royal icing," 12 Dec. 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

10 Jan 2019

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).


marked by shyness and lack of polish

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