Definition of attribute in English:

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Pronunciation: /əˈtriˌbyo͞ot/
[with object] (attribute something to)
1Regard something as being caused by (someone or something): he attributed the firm’s success to the efforts of the managing director the bombing was attributed to the IRA
More example sentences
  • The firm attributed the profit to rising prices and lower interest payments to its creditors.
  • The firm attributes the loss to its heavy investment in the Special Olympics and its involvement in a number of long-term development projects.
  • The firm attributes its success to a talented staff and an open culture that honors individual creativity and nurtures teamwork.
ascribe to, assign to, accredit to, credit to, impute to;
put down to, chalk up to;
hold responsible for, blame on, pin on;
connect with, associate with
1.1Ascribe a work or remark to (a particular author, artist, or speaker): the building was attributed to Frank Lloyd Wright
More example sentences
  • Until recently, the angriest reaction I ever got to one of my reviews was when I criticised an author for attributing thoughts to Teddy Roosevelt's dog.
  • He never attributed the line to Kennedy in his remarks, nor does the transcribed version of his speech.
  • Willfully to misinterpret a text is akin to attributing an action to the author that he did not commit.
1.2Regard a quality or feature as characteristic of or possessed by (someone or something): ancient peoples attributed magic properties to certain stones
More example sentences
  • Rather than describing a man's character by attributing various qualities to him, they preferred to exemplify it by saying the sort of things that he might do.
  • Anna now believes that she was in love with a person who really didn't exist - an imaginary person that she created by attributing characteristics to Bill that he didn't actually possess.
  • More grating, though, is the narrator, who is constantly attributing characteristics to these people - wit, say, or charisma, or confidence - which are in no way borne out by anything they say or do.


Pronunciation: /ˈatrəˌbyo͞ot/
1A quality or feature regarded as a characteristic or inherent part of someone or something: flexibility and mobility are the key attributes of our army
More example sentences
  • He has the height and he is very strong across the chest, shoulders and in the legs - key attributes for good quality rowers.
  • We agreed on the key attributes of the character and the artistic direction.
  • The applicant must show that she has attributes or characteristics which distinguish her from all other persons.
quality, characteristic, trait, feature, element, aspect, property, sign, hallmark, mark, distinction
informal X factor
1.1A material object recognized as symbolic of a person, especially a conventional object used in art to identify a saint or mythical figure.
Example sentences
  • The depiction of her as St Margaret shows her in contemporary dress but with the attributes of the saint.
  • Centered on the canvas, each image bears a number of formal attributes associated with conventional portraiture.
  • Mayan examples are identified by glyphs and attributes, and are understood to represent specific subjects.
symbol, mark, sign, hallmark, trademark
2 Computing A piece of information that determines the properties of a field or tag in a database or a string of characters in a display.
Example sentences
  • The destination of the alias is stored in the maildrop attribute.
  • First, you can apply the CSS inline using the style attribute on any tag.
  • You'll have to tolerate the error messages concerned with the attributes.
3 Grammar An attributive adjective or noun.
4 Statistics A real property that a statistical analysis is attempting to describe.
Example sentences
  • Nest attributes used in the statistical analyses were measured at the start of the first film.
  • This does not mean that individuals have the attributes of the statistical group.
  • Metadata is a set of attributes used to describe an object.


Late 15th century: as a noun from Old French attribut, and as a verb from Latin attribut- 'allotted', both from the verb attribuere, from ad- 'to' + tribuere 'assign'.

Words that rhyme with attribute

contribute, tribute

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: at·trib·ute

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