at·​tri·​bu·​tion | \ ˌa-trə-ˈbyü-shən How to pronounce attribution (audio) \
plural attributions

Definition of attribution

1 : the act of attributing something especially : the ascribing of a work (as of literature or art) to a particular author or artist
2 : an ascribed quality, character, or right Supernatural powers were attributions of the gods.
3 psychology : the interpretive process by which people make judgments about the causes of their own behavior and the behavior of others Psychologists have long documented what they call the fundamental attribution error, the tendency for people to explain human behavior in terms of the traits of individual actors, even when powerful situational forces are at work.— Erica Goode

Other Words from attribution

attributional \ ˌa-​trə-​ˈbyü-​sh(ə-​)nᵊl How to pronounce attribution (audio) \ adjective

Examples of attribution in a Sentence

a genuine respect for one another is one of the most commonly cited attributions of a happily married couple
Recent Examples on the Web Measurement looks at data for things like attribution, attentiveness, ad exposure and business outcomes. Brad Adgate, Forbes, 25 Apr. 2022 The Monday edition of Data Sheet omitted the first name and title of NFTfi founder and CEO Stephen Young in the attribution of a quote. Jacob Carpenter, Fortune, 15 Mar. 2022 The announcement was the most pointed attribution of responsibility for the cyber intrusions., 18 Feb. 2022 The announcement was the most pointed attribution of responsibility for the cyber intrusions. Anchorage Daily News, 18 Feb. 2022 Things like copying the aesthetics of musicians such as Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion without giving them attribution or linking it to their lives. Nathan Solis, Los Angeles Times, 19 Apr. 2022 This story has been updated to correct the attribution on the first partial quote about fighting to the end to Ukraine’s prime minister, not president. Yuras Karmanau, ajc, 18 Apr. 2022 The Experts Panel intentionally did not focus on attribution, or who might be behind any coordinated effort to sicken or injure U.S. employees, U.S. intelligence officials said. Josh Meyer, USA TODAY, 2 Feb. 2022 The drug likely won’t be recommended for pregnant women, Kyodo News reported Tuesday, without giving attribution. Kanoko Matsuyama, Fortune, 13 Apr. 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of attribution

1598, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for attribution

see attribute entry 1

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Time Traveler for attribution

Time Traveler

The first known use of attribution was in 1598

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Statistics for attribution

Last Updated

13 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Attribution.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for attribution


at·​tri·​bu·​tion | \ ˌa-trə-ˈbyü-shən How to pronounce attribution (audio) \

Legal Definition of attribution

: a rule in tax law that in certain cases deems property owned by one person or business entity to be owned by another or others

More from Merriam-Webster on attribution

Nglish: Translation of attribution for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of attribution for Arabic Speakers


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