attribute

v. /euh trib"yooht/; n. /a"treuh byooht'/, v., attributed, attributing, n.
v.t.
1. to regard as resulting from a specified cause; consider as caused by something indicated (usually fol. by to): She attributed his bad temper to ill health.
2. to consider as a quality or characteristic of the person, thing, group, etc., indicated: He attributed intelligence to his colleagues.
3. to consider as made by the one indicated, esp. with strong evidence but in the absence of conclusive proof: to attribute a painting to an artist.
4. to regard as produced by or originating in the time, period, place, etc., indicated; credit; assign: to attribute a work to a particular period; to attribute a discovery to a particular country.
n.
5. something attributed as belonging to a person, thing, group, etc.; a quality, character, characteristic, or property: Sensitivity is one of his attributes.
6. something used as a symbol of a particular person, office, or status: A scepter is one of the attributes of a king.
7. Gram. a word or phrase that is syntactically subordinate to another and serves to limit, identify, particularize, describe, or supplement the meaning of the form with which it is in construction. In the red house, red is an attribute of house.
8. Fine Arts. an object associated with or symbolic of a character, office, or quality, as the keys of St. Peter or the lion skin of Hercules.
9. Philos. (in the philosophy of Spinoza) any of the essential qualifications of God, thought and extension being the only ones known. Cf. mode1 (def. 4b).
10. Logic. (in a proposition) that which is affirmed or denied concerning the subject.
11. Obs. distinguished character; reputation.
[1350-1400; ME < L attributus allotted, assigned, imputed to (ptp. of attribuere), equiv. to at- AT- + tribu- (s. of tribuere to assign (to tribes), classify, ascribe; see TRIBE) + -tus ptp. suffix]
Syn. 1. ATTRIBUTE, ASCRIBE, IMPUTE imply definite origin. ATTRIBUTE and ASCRIBE are often used interchangeably, to imply that something originates with a definite person or from a definite cause. ASCRIBE, however, has neutral implications; whereas, possibly because of an association with tribute, ATTRIBUTE is coming to have a complimentary connotation: to ascribe an accident to carelessness; to attribute one's success to a friend's encouragement. IMPUTE has gained uncomplimentary connotations, and usually means to accuse or blame someone or something as a cause or origin: to impute an error to him. 5. See quality.

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Universalium. 2010.

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