Synonyms of attribute

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 to explain (something) as being the result of something else
  • attributed the quick rescue to the well-trained police force

Synonyms for attribute

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2 to give the reason for or cause of
  • a psychotherapist who's a little too quick to attribute every emotional problem or character defect to an unhappy childhood

Synonyms for attribute

Words Related to attribute



Synonyms of attribute (Entry 2 of 2)

something that sets apart an individual from others of the same kind
  • list the attributes of a mammal

Synonyms for attribute

Words Related to attribute

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Frequently Asked Questions About attribute

How is the word attribute different from other verbs like it?

Some common synonyms of attribute are ascribe, assign, credit, and impute. While all these words mean "to lay something to the account of a person or thing," attribute suggests less tentativeness than ascribe, less definiteness than assign.

attributed to Rembrandt but possibly done by an associate

When might ascribe be a better fit than attribute?

The words ascribe and attribute are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, ascribe suggests an inferring or conjecturing of cause, quality, authorship.

forged paintings formerly ascribed to masters

In what contexts can assign take the place of attribute?

While in some cases nearly identical to attribute, assign implies ascribing with certainty or after deliberation.

assigned the bones to the Cretaceous period

Where would credit be a reasonable alternative to attribute?

The words credit and attribute can be used in similar contexts, but credit implies ascribing a thing or especially an action to a person or other thing as its agent, source, or explanation.

credited his teammates for his success

When is impute a more appropriate choice than attribute?

Although the words impute and attribute have much in common, impute suggests ascribing something that brings discredit by way of accusation or blame.

tried to impute sinister motives to my actions

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Time Traveler for attribute

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

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Cite this Entry

“Attribute.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Oct. 2021.

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More from Merriam-Webster on attribute

Nglish: Translation of attribute for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of attribute for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about attribute


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