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 Manually check your attribution system to monitor your impressions from your ads across different networks. Jacob Loveless, Forbes, 27 June 2022 Climate attribution research reveals overnight temperatures, compared to daytime temperatures, are boosted even more by the warming temperatures. Kathryn Prociv, NBC News, 23 June 2022 The two partners expect to also tackle the question of how audiences respond to commercials, using VideoAmp data to establish attribution, or the cause of a consumer action set in motion by a commercial message. Brian Steinberg, Variety, 21 June 2022 Jackowski said the company tracks revenue attribution for impact primarily through the language in requests for proposal from prospective customers, and other steps or signs during the sales process. Aman Kidwai, Fortune, 2 June 2022 But the Chronicle never would have run a story this explosive without intense internal debate and scrutiny of the not-for-attribution sourcing. Walter Shapiro, The New Republic, 15 Apr. 2022 The articles contained passages from other news organizations that were used without attribution. NBC News, 2 May 2022 The megabanks will move staff to locations in Europe and the Middle East to oversee Russia operations remotely, Yomiuri reported earlier, without attribution. Yuki Hagiwara,, 11 Mar. 2022 Since attribution is hard and not always possible, those attacks could remain just below the threshold of open conflict, causing the clear red line that once existed to disappear. Galina Antova, Fortune, 5 May 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

30 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Attribution.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Jul. 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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