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From Latin attributus past participle of attribuere.


attribute ‎(plural attributes)

  1. A characteristic or quality of a thing.
    His finest attribute is his kindness.
  2. (grammar) A word that qualifies a noun, a qualifier.
    In the clause "My jacket is more expensive than yours", "My" is the attribute of "jacket".
  3. (logic) That which is predicated or affirmed of a subject; a predicate; an accident.
  4. (computing) An option or setting belonging to some object.
    This packet has its coherency attribute set to zero.
    A file with the read-only attribute set cannot be overwritten.
  5. (computing, programming) A semantic item with which a method or other code element may be decorated.
    Properties can marked as obsolete with an attribute, which will cause the compiler to generate a warning if they are used.
  6. (computer graphics, dated) A numeric value representing the colours of part of the screen display.
    • 1987, Marcus Berkmann, Sceptre Of Bagdad (video game review) in Your Sinclair issue 17
      [] you can only carry two objects, your attributes clash when you walk past multi-coloured objects and your enemies fly up and down from the ceiling.
    • 1989, PC: The Independent Guide to IBM Personal Computers
      If any of the video buffer's background attribute bits are on, MONO converts the attribute to 70h (inverse video).


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attribute ‎(third-person singular simple present attributes, present participle attributing, simple past and past participle attributed)

  1. To ascribe (something) to a given cause, reason etc.
    • 1749, Henry Fielding, The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling, Book IV, chapter i
      For as this is the liquor of modern historians, nay, perhaps their muse, if we may believe the opinion of Butler, who attributes inspiration to ale, it ought likewise to be the potation of their readers, since every book ought to be read with the same spirit and in the same manner as it is writ.
  1. To associate ownership or authorship of (something) to someone.
    This poem is attributed to Browning.
    • Archbishop Tillotson
      We attribute nothing to God that hath any repugnancy or contradiction in it.
    • 1604, William Shakespeare, All's Well That Ends Well, Act III
      It is to be recovered: but that the merit of service is seldom attributed to the true and exact performer, I would have that drum or another, or hic jacet.
    • 2009, Diarmaid MacCulloch, A History of Christianity, Penguin 2010, p. 278:
      Hākim's atypical actions should not be attributed to Islam as much as to insanity, which eventually led him to proclaim himself as Allah, whereupon he was murdered by outraged fellow Muslims.

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  1. vocative masculine singular of attribūtus
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