Definition of attributive in English:

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Pronunciation: /əˈtribyədiv/


(Of an adjective or noun) preceding the word it qualifies or modifies and expressing an attribute, as old in the old dog (but not in the dog is old) and expiration in expiration date (but not in date of expiration). Often contrasted with predicative.
Example sentences
  • Word combination often leads to strings of adjectives and attributive nouns, a style that began in Time magazine in the 1920s, with the aim of providing impact and ‘colour’.
  • In his introduction to the book, the 6th word is an attributive adjective.
  • When we use the expression a London Fog raincoat, we use London Fog as an attributive modifier of the noun raincoat.



Pronunciation: /əˈtribyədivlē/
Example sentences
  • Tall may be used both attributively and predicatively, as in a tall man and The man is tall.
  • In the first case the description is used attributively, in the second referentially.


Mid 18th century (as a noun in the sense 'a word expressing an attribute'): from French attributif, -ive, from attribut 'an attribute', from Latin attribuere 'add to' (see attribute).

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: at·trib·u·tive

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