DIMENSIONS: EVALUATION / Perspective
R E F E R E N C E S
Attribute -v.t. 1. to regard as resulting from; consider as caused by. 2. to consider as belonging, as a quality or characteristic: He attributed intelligence to his colleagues 3. to regard as produced by or originating in or with; credit; assign: The critics attribute the unsigned paintng to Raphael -n. 4. something seen as belonging to or representing someone or something: Sensitivity is one of his attributes. 5. 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 6. Obs. distinguished character; reputation [ME < L attribut(us) alloted, assigned, imputed to (ptp. of attribuere) = at- AT- + tribú- (ptp. s. of Tribuere to assign (to tribes), classify, ascribe; see tribe]
-Syn. 1. ATTRIBUTE and ASCRIBE are often used interchangeably, to imply that something originates with a definite person or from a definite cause. Possibly because of an association with tribute, attribute is coming to have a complimentary connotation, whereas ASCRIBE has neutral implications: to attribute one's success to a friend's encouragement; to ascribe an accident to carelessness. 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. 4. See quality.
Attributive. adj. 1. pertaining to having the character of attribution or an attribute. 2. Gram. expressing an attribute, applied in English, esp. to adjectives and adverbs preceding the words which they modify, as first in the fthe first day . -n. 3. Gram. an attributive word or phrase.
[Urdang, Laurence, ed. Random House Dictionary of The English Language. New York: Random House, 1968.]
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