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

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms & Antonyms for attachment


affection, devotedness, devotion, fondness, love, passion


abomination, hate, hatred, loathing, rancor

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

Firefighters, using a rope attachment, found the woman inside an air pocket inside the vehicle, which had flooded, and were able to pull her out, officials said. Chris Coppola, azcentral, "Mesa firefighters rescue woman from car submerged in a canal," 9 July 2018 Using a vacuum’s soft brush attachment, clean the front surface area and open areas behind the grill. Debbie Carlson,, "5 areas to tackle during spring cleaning," 22 May 2018 Unlike the hard-shell AirPods, the FreeBuds come with a silicone tip attachment, which goes deeper into the ear than Apple’s buds do. Vlad Savov, The Verge, "Huawei’s wannabe AirPods look and feel good," 28 Mar. 2018 Using dough hook attachment, knead until smooth, 8 to 10 minutes. The Good Housekeeping Test Kitchen, Good Housekeeping, "Iced Hot Cross Buns," 19 Mar. 2018 Using a food processor fitted with a blade attachment, combine squash, and onions. Claire Perez,, "Dip into Harvest's healthy squash appetizer," 16 Mar. 2018 An ideal fit would be to acquire a catalog owned by heirs who have an emotional attachment to the songs but feel overwhelmed in knowing how to maximize the legacy. Ed Christman, Billboard, "one77 Music Launches With Jennifer Blakeman at Helm of a Hits-Filled Publishing Catalog," 9 July 2018 Mr Macron, now president of France, seems to have developed an attachment. The Economist, "Emmanuel Macron pays tribute to Fela Kuti, a Nigerian musician," 5 July 2018 Who would develop an emotional attachment to a dish of potatoes? Alex Delany, Bon Appetit, "I Have Feelings for These Crispy Potatoes, and I’m Fine with That," 16 May 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.

See More

First Known Use of attachment

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about attachment

Share attachment

Phrases Related to attachment

on attachment

Statistics for attachment

Last Updated

19 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for attachment

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


characteristic trappings or dress

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Food Quiz

True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!