Meaning of ATTRIBUTE in English


I. at ‧ tri ‧ bute 1 AC /əˈtrɪbjuːt $ -bjət/ BrE AmE verb

[ Date: 1300-1400 ; Language: Latin ; Origin: past participle of attribuere , from ad- 'to' + tribuere ; ⇨ ↑ tribute ]

attribute something to somebody/something phrasal verb

1 . to believe or say that a situation or event is caused by something:

The fall in the number of deaths from heart disease is generally attributed to improvements in diet.

2 . if people in general attribute a particular statement, painting, piece of music etc to someone, they believe that person said it, painted it etc:

a saying usually attributed to Confucius

3 . to believe or say that someone or something has a particular quality:

One should not attribute human motives to animals.

—attribution /ˌætrəˈbjuːʃ ə n, ˌætrɪˈbjuːʃ ə n/ noun [uncountable]

II. at ‧ tri ‧ bute 2 AC /ˈætrəbjuːt, ˈætrɪbjuːt/ BrE AmE noun [countable]

a quality or feature, especially one that is considered to be good or useful:

What attributes should a good manager possess?

• • •


▪ characteristic something that is typical of someone or something and makes them easy to recognize:

He had several characteristics which made him different to the rest of his family.


the physical characteristics of the brain


He studied the special characteristics of adult speech addressed to children.

▪ quality a characteristic of a person, especially a good one such as kindness or intelligence:

Tina has a lot of good qualities.


I’m not sure about his leadership qualities.


Obedience is a quality that my father admires.

▪ feature an important or interesting characteristic of something:

it seems to be a feature of modern society that we tend to judge ourselves by our work above everything else.


A curious feature of the novel is the absence of women.


The building still has many of its original features.

▪ property [usually plural] technical a characteristic of a substance or object, for example hardness or elasticity, or how it behaves - used especially in scientific contexts:

We examined the physical properties of various metals.


changes in the electrical properties of cells


Some plants have healing properties.

▪ attribute formal a good or useful characteristic:

I suspected I probably did not quite possess all the attributes required to succeed at the highest level.


All living things are able to reproduce their kind, an attribute which no machine possesses..

▪ good/bad points good or bad characteristics – used when someone or something has both good and bad characteristics:

The seller will obviously emphasize the car’s good points.


Draw up a list of your partner’s good and bad points.

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.