attendance (n.) Look up attendance at Dictionary.com
late 14c., "act of attending to one's duties," from Old French atendance "attention, wait, hope, expectation," from atendant, present participle of atendre (see attend). Meaning "action of waiting on someone" dates from late 14c. (to dance attendance on someone is from 1560s); that of "action of being present, presenting oneself" (originally with intent of taking a part) is from mid-15c. Meaning "number of persons present" is from 1835.
attendant (n.) Look up attendant at Dictionary.com
1550s, "one who waits upon," from the adjective, or from Middle French atendant, noun use of present participle of atendre (see attend).
attendant (adj.) Look up attendant at Dictionary.com
late 14c., "solicitous, attentive," see attendant (n.). Sense of "serving under, accompanying in a dependant position" is from c.1400.
attendee (n.) Look up attendee at Dictionary.com
"one who attends" (something), 1961, from attend + -ee. Attender is older (mid-15c.) but had senses "one who waits upon" and "one who gives heed."
attent (adj.) Look up attent at Dictionary.com
late 15c., "attentive," from Latin attentus, past participle of attendere (see attend). As a noun, "intention, aim" (early 13c.), from Old French atente "act of attending," from fem. of Latin attentus.
attention (n.) Look up attention at Dictionary.com
late 14c., "giving heed," from Latin attentionem (nominative attentio) "attention, attentiveness," noun of action from past participle stem of attendere "mental heeding" (see attend). Used with a remarkable diversity of verbs (such as pay, gather, attract, draw, call). As a military cautionary word preparative to giving a command, it is attested from 1792. Attention span is from 1903 (earlier span of attention, 1892).
attention deficit disorder (n.) Look up attention deficit disorder at Dictionary.com
(abbreviated ADD) became a diagnosis in the third edition of the "Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders" (1980); expanded to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder ("the co-existence of attentional problems and hyperactivity, with each behavior occurring infrequently alone;" ADHD) in DSM-III (1987).
attentive (adj.) Look up attentive at Dictionary.com
late 14c. (implied in attentively), from Old French attentif, from Vulgar Latin *attenditus, from Latin attentus "heedful, observant" (see attend). Sense of "actively ministering to the needs and wants" (of another person) is from early 16c. Related: Attentively.
attentiveness (n.) Look up attentiveness at Dictionary.com
mid-15c., from attentive + -ness.
attenuate (v.) Look up attenuate at Dictionary.com
"to make thin, to make less," 1520s, from Latin attenuatus "enfeebled, weak," past participle of attenuare "to make thin, lessen, diminish," from ad- "to" (see ad-) + tenuare "make thin," from tenuis "thin" (see tenet). Related: Attenuated; attenuating. Earlier was Middle English attenuen "to make thin (in consistency)," early 15c.
attenuation (n.) Look up attenuation at Dictionary.com
early 15c., of persons, "emaciation;" of diet, "reduction," from Latin attenuationem (nominative attenuatio) "a lessening," noun of action from past participle stem of attenuare (see attenuate).
attercop (n.) Look up attercop at Dictionary.com
"spider," Old English attorcoppe, literally "poison-head," from ator "poison, venom," from Proto-Germanic *aitra- "poisonous ulcer" (cognates: Old Norse eitr, Old High German eitar "poison;" German eiter "pus," Old High German eiz "abscess, boil;" Old English atorcræft "art of poisoning") + copp "top, summit, round head," probably also "spider" (compare cobweb and Dutch spinne-cop "spider").
Amptes & attircoppes & suche oþer þat ben euere bisy ben maide to schewe man ensaumple of stodye & labour. [Elucidarium of Honorius of Autun (Wycliffite version) c.1400]
attest (v.) Look up attest at Dictionary.com
1590s, from Middle French attester (Old French atester, 13c.) "affirm, attest," from Latin attestari "confirm," literally "bear witness to," from ad- "to" (see ad-) + testari "bear witness," from testis "witness" (see testament). Related: Attested; attesting.
attestation (n.) Look up attestation at Dictionary.com
mid-15c., from Middle French attestation and directly from Latin attestationem (nominative attestatio) "an attesting, testimony," noun of action from past participle stem of attestari "to prove, confirm" (see attest).
Attic (adj.) Look up Attic at Dictionary.com
1590s, "pertaining to Attica," from Latin Atticus, from Greek Attikos "Athenian, of Attica," the region around Athens (see Attica). Attested from 1560s as an architectural term for a type of column base.
attic (n.) Look up attic at Dictionary.com
"top story under the roof of a house," 1855, shortened from attic storey (1724). The term Attic order in classical architecture meant a small, square decorative column of the type often used in a low story above a building's main facade, a feature associated with the region around Athens (see Attic). The word then was applied by architects to "a low decorative facade above the main story of a building" (1690s in English) to convey a classical heritage where none exists, and it came to mean the space enclosed by such a structure. The modern use is via French attique. "An attic is upright, a garret is in a sloping roof" [Weekley].
Attica Look up Attica at Dictionary.com
traditionally explained as from Greek Attikos (Latin Atticus) "of Athens" (see Athens); but perhaps ultimately from Greek akte "shore, maritime place," also "raised place."
attire (v.) Look up attire at Dictionary.com
c.1300, "to fit out, equip; to dress in finery, to adorn," from Old French atirier "to equip, ready, prepare," from a- "to" + tire "order, row, dress" (see tier). Related: Attired; attiring.
attire (n.) Look up attire at Dictionary.com
c.1300, "equipment of a man-at-arms; fine apparel," from attire (v.).
attitude (n.) Look up attitude at Dictionary.com
1660s, via French attitude (17c.), from Italian attitudine "disposition, posture," also "aptness, promptitude," from Late Latin aptitudinem (nominative aptitudo; see aptitude). Originally 17c. a technical term in art for the posture of a figure in a statue or painting; later generalized to "a posture of the body supposed to imply some mental state" (1725). Sense of "settled behavior reflecting feeling or opinion" is first recorded 1837. Connotations of "antagonistic and uncooperative" developed by 1962 in slang.
attitudinal (adj.) Look up attitudinal at Dictionary.com
1831, from Italian attitudine (see attitude) + -al (1).
attitudinize (v.) Look up attitudinize at Dictionary.com
1784, from attitudinal + -ize. Related: Attitudinized; attitudinizing.
atto- Look up atto- at Dictionary.com
word-forming element meaning "one quintillionth," 1962, from Danish atten "eighteen" (a quintillion is 10 to the 18th power), related to Old English eahtatene (see eighteen).
attorn (v.) Look up attorn at Dictionary.com
late 13c., Anglo-French, "to turn over to another," from Old French atorner "to turn, turn to, assign, attribute, dispose," from a- "to" (see ad-) + tourner "to turn" (see turn (v.)). In feudal law, "to transfer homage or allegiance to another lord."
attorney (n.) Look up attorney at Dictionary.com
early 14c. (mid-13c. in Anglo-Latin), from Old French atorné "(one) appointed," past participle of aturner "to decree, assign, appoint," from atorner (see attorn). The legal Latin form attornare influenced the spelling in Anglo-French. The sense is of "one appointed to represent another's interests."

In English law, a private attorney was one appointed to act for another in business or legal affairs (usually for pay); an attorney at law or public attorney was a qualified legal agent in the courts of Common Law who prepared the cases for a barrister, who pleaded them (the equivalent of a solicitor in Chancery). So much a term of contempt in England that it was abolished by the Judicature Act of 1873 and merged with solicitor.
Johnson observed that "he did not care to speak ill of any man behind his back, but he believed the gentleman was an attorney." [Boswell]
The double -t- is a mistaken 15c. attempt to restore a non-existent Latin original. Attorney general first recorded 1530s in sense of "legal officer of the state" (late 13c. in Anglo-French), from French, hence the odd plural (subject first, adjective second).
attract (v.) Look up attract at Dictionary.com
early 15c., from Latin attractus, past participle of attrahere "to draw, pull; to attract," from ad- "to" (see ad-) + trahere "draw" (see tract (n.1)).

Originally a medical term for the body's tendency to absorb fluids, nourishment, etc., or for a poultice treatment to "draw out" diseased matter (1560s). Of the ability of people or animals to draw others to them, it is attested from 1560s; of physical forces (magnetism, etc.), from c.1600 (implied in attraction). Related: Attracted; attracting.
attraction (n.) Look up attraction at Dictionary.com
late 14c., from French attraction, from Latin attractionem (nominative attractio) "a drawing together," noun of action from past participle stem of attrahere (see attract). Originally a medical word, "absorption by the body;" meaning "action of drawing to" is from 1540s (again medical); extended to magnetic, then figuratively to personal (c.1600) qualities. Meaning "a thing which draws a crowd, interesting or amusing exhibition" is from 1829, a sense that developed in English and soon transferred to the French equivalent of the word.
attractive (adj.) Look up attractive at Dictionary.com
late 14c., "absorptive," from Middle French attractif (14c.), from attract-, past participle stem of attrahere (see attract). Meaning "having the quality of drawing people's eye or interest" is from 1580s; sense of "pleasing, alluring" is from c.1600. Related: Attractively; attractiveness.
attrahent (n.) Look up attrahent at Dictionary.com
"that which attracts," 1660s, from Latin attrahentem (nominative attrahens), present participle of attrahere (see attract).
attributable (adj.) Look up attributable at Dictionary.com
1660s, from attribute (v.) + -able.
attribute (v.) Look up attribute at Dictionary.com
late 14c., "assign, bestow," from Latin attributus, past participle of attribuere "assign to, add, bestow;" figuratively "to attribute, ascribe, impute," from ad- "to" + tribuere "assign, give, bestow" (see tribute). Related: Attributed; attributing.
attribute (n.) Look up attribute at Dictionary.com
"quality ascribed to someone," late 14c., from Latin attributum "anything attributed," noun use of neuter of attributus (see attribute (v.)). Distinguished from the verb by pronunciation.
attributes (n.) Look up attributes at Dictionary.com
"qualities belonging to someone or something," c.1600; see attribute (n.).
attribution (n.) Look up attribution at Dictionary.com
late 15c., "action of bestowing or assigning," from Middle French attribution (14c.), from Latin attributionem (nominative attributio) "an assignment, attribution," noun of action from past participle stem of attribuere (see attribute). Meaning "thing attributed" is recorded from 1580s.
attributive (adj.) Look up attributive at Dictionary.com
c.1600, from French attributif, from stem of Latin attributus (see attribute (v.)). As a noun, in grammar, from 1750. Related: Attributively; attributiveness.
attrit (v.) Look up attrit at Dictionary.com
1956, U.S. Air Force back-formation from attrition which attained currency during the Vietnam War. (A 17c. attempt at a verb produced attrite). Related: Attrited; attriting.
attrite (adj.) Look up attrite at Dictionary.com
"worn down," 1620s, from Latin attritus, past participle of atterere (see attrition).
attrition (n.) Look up attrition at Dictionary.com
1540s, "abrasion, a scraping," from Latin attritionem (nominative attritio), literally "a rubbing against," noun of action from past participle stem of atterere "to wear, rub away," figuratively "to destroy, waste," from ad- "to" (see ad-) + terere "to rub" (see throw (v.)). The earliest sense in English is from Scholastic theology (late 14c.), "sorrow for sin merely out of fear of punishment," a minor irritation, and thus less than contrition. The sense of "wearing down of military strength" is a World War I coinage (1914). Figurative use by 1930.
attune (v.) Look up attune at Dictionary.com
1590s, from tune (v.), "probably suggested by ATONE" [OED]. Related: Attuned; attuning.
attunement (n.) Look up attunement at Dictionary.com
"a bringing into harmony," 1820, from attune + -ment.
ATV (n.) Look up ATV at Dictionary.com
acronym of all-terrain vehicle, 1969.
atween (adv.) Look up atween at Dictionary.com
c.1400, from a- (1) + tween.
atwitter (adv.) Look up atwitter at Dictionary.com
1833, from a- (1) + twitter.
atypical (adj.) Look up atypical at Dictionary.com
1847, from a- (2) "not" + typical. Related: Atypically.
Au Look up Au at Dictionary.com
chemical symbol for "gold," from Latin aurum "gold" (see aureate).
au Look up au at Dictionary.com
French, "at the, to the," from Old French al, contraction of a le, with -l- softened to -u-, as also poudre from pulverem, chaud from calidus, etc. Used in many expressions in cookery, etc., which have crossed the Channel since 18c., such as au contraire, literally "on the contrary;" au gratin, literally "with scrapings;" au jus, literally "with the juice."
au courant (adj.) Look up au courant at Dictionary.com
"aware of current events," 1762, French, literally "with the current" (see current (n.)).
au fait (adj.) Look up au fait at Dictionary.com
1743, French, "to the point, to the matter under discussion," literally "to the fact," from fait "fact" (see feat). Used in French with sense of "acquainted with the facts."
au naturel (adj.) Look up au naturel at Dictionary.com
1817, French, literally "in the natural state;" originally meaning "uncooked," but used euphemistically for "undressed." See natural (adj.).
au pair (n.) Look up au pair at Dictionary.com
1897 of the arrangement, 1960 of the girl; French, literally "on an equal footing" (see pair (n.)).