attached (adj.) Look up attached at
"affectionate, devoted, fond," 1793, past participle adjective from attach in the sense "join to or with in companionship or affection" (1765). Earlier the adjective meant "arrested" (1610s). The literal sense of "fastened on" is from 1841.
attachment (n.) Look up attachment at
c. 1400, "arrest of a person on judicial warrant" (mid-13c. in Anglo-Latin), from Anglo-French attachement, from Old French attacher "to attach" (see attach). Application to property (including, later, wages) dates from 1590s; meaning "sympathy, devotion" is recorded from 1704; that of "something that is attached to something else" dates from 1797 and has become very common since the rise of e-mail.
attack (v.) Look up attack at
c. 1600, "assault, assail, begin hostilities against," from French attaquer (16c.), from Florentine Italian attaccare (battaglia) "join (battle)," thus the word is a doublet of attach, which was used 15c.-17c. also in the sense now reserved to attack. Meaning "endeavor to bring into discredit by writing, proposals, etc." is from 1640s. General sense of "begin action" is from 1670s, originally of diseases. Related: Attacked; attacking.
attack (n.) Look up attack at
1660s, "violent onset, a falling on with violence and force," from attack (v.). Meaning "fit of a disease" is from 1811. Compare Middle English attach "a seizure or attack" (of fever), late 14c.
attain (v.) Look up attain at
c. 1300, "succeed in reaching, come so near as to touch," from ataign-, stem of Old French ataindre "to come up to, reach, attain, endeavor, strive" (11c., Modern French atteindre), from Vulgar Latin *attangere, corresponding to Latin attingere "to touch; arrive at," from ad "to" (see ad-) + tangere "to touch," from PIE root *tag- "to touch, handle." Latin attingere had a wide range of meanings, including "to attack, to strike, to appropriate, to manage," all somehow suggested by the literal sense "to touch." Related: Attained; attaining.
attainable (adj.) Look up attainable at
1640s, from attain + -able. Related: Attainability.
attainder (n.) Look up attainder at
mid-15c., in law, "extinction of rights of a person sentenced to death or outlawry," from noun use of Old French ataindre "to touch upon; strike, hit; seize; accuse, condemn" (see attain). For use of French infinitives as nouns, especially in legal language, see waiver.
attainment (n.) Look up attainment at
1540s, "action of acquiring by effort, act of reaching by exertion," from French atteignement, from attaindre "to come up to, reach, attain, endeavor, strive" (see attain). Sense of "that which is attained, personal accomplishment" dates from 1670s.
attar (n.) Look up attar at
"perfume from flowers" (especially roses), 1788, from Persian 'atar-gul "essence of roses," from 'atar "fragrance, sweet smell," from Arabic 'utur "perfumes, aromas."
attemper (v.) Look up attemper at
late 14c., "reduce, moderate, modify; restrain, control; make fit or suitable; mix in just proportion," from Old French atemprer "become moderate, regulate one's actions, take the middle way," from Latin attemperare, from assimilated form of ad "to" (see ad-) + temperare "to mix in due proportion, modify, blend; restrain oneself" (see temper (v.)). Related: Attempered; attempering.
attempt (v.) Look up attempt at
late 14c., "seek or try to do, make an effort to perform," from Old French atempter (14c.), earlier atenter "to try, attempt, test" (Modern French attenter), from Latin attemptare "to try, make trial of; tamper with, seek to influence; attack, assail" (source also of Italian attentare, Old Provençal, Portuguese attentar, Spanish atentar), from assimilated form of ad "to, toward" (see ad-) + temptare "to try" (see tempt). Related: Attempted; attempting.
attempt (n.) Look up attempt at
1530s, "a putting forth of effort in some difficult or uncertain endeavor," from attempt (v.). Meaning "effort to accomplish something by violence" is from 1580s, especially as an assault on someone's life.
attend (v.) Look up attend at
c. 1300, "be subject to" (obsolete); early 14c., "direct one's mind or energies" (archaic), from Old French atendre "to expect, wait for, pay attention" (12c., Modern French attendre) and directly from Latin attendere "give heed to," literally "to stretch toward," from ad "to, toward" (see ad-) + tendere "stretch," from PIE root *ten- "to stretch." The notion is of "stretching" one's mind toward something.

Sense of "take care of, wait upon" is from mid-14c.; that of "endeavor to do" is from c. 1400. Meaning "to pay attention" is from early 15c.; that of "accompany and render service to" (someone) is from mid-15c., as is that of "be in attendance." Meaning "to accompany or follow as a consequent" is from 1610s. Related: Attended; attending.
attendance (n.) Look up attendance at
late 14c., "act of attending to one's duties" (archaic), from Old French atendance "attention, wait, hope, expectation," from atendant, present participle of atendre "expect, wait for; pay attention" (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. To take attendance in a classroom or lecture is by 1891.
attendant (adj.) Look up attendant at
late 14c., "solicitous, attentive," from Old French atendant, present participle of atendre "expect, wait for, pay attention" (see attend (v.)). Sense of "serving under, accompanying in a dependent position" is from c. 1400; that of "closely consequent" is from 1610s.
attendant (n.) Look up attendant at
"one who waits upon another," early 15c., from the adjective or from French noun use of present participle of atendre (see attend).
attendee (n.) Look up attendee at
"one who attends" (something), 1951, from attend + -ee. Attender (mid-15c. as "observer," 1704 as "one who attends") and attendant (1640s as "one present at a public proceeding") are older, but they had overtones of "one who waits upon."
attent (adj.) Look up attent at
late 15c., "attentive," from Latin attentus, past participle of attendere "give heed to" (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
late 14c., "a giving heed, active direction of the mind upon some object or topic," from Old French attencion and directly from Latin attentionem (nominative attentio) "attention, attentiveness," noun of action from past participle stem of attendere "give heed to" (see attend).

Rare in English before 17c. Meaning "consideration, observant care" is from 1741; that of "civility, courtesy" is from 1752. Meaning "power of mental concentration" is from 1871. It is used with a remarkable diversity of verbs (pay, gather, attract, draw, call, etc.). As a military cautionary word before giving a command, it is attested from 1792. Attention span is from 1903 (earlier span of attention, 1892). Related: Attentions.
attention deficit disorder (n.) Look up attention deficit disorder at
(abbreviated ADD), introduced as a diagnosis in the third edition of the "Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders" (1980), from attention in the "power of mental concentration" sense. 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
late 14c., "heedful, observant" (implied in attentively), from Old French atentif "expectant, hopeful," from past-participle stem of Latin attendere "give heed to" (see attend). Sense of "actively ministering to the needs and wants" (of another person) is from early 16c.
attentiveness (n.) Look up attentiveness at
mid-15c., from attentive + -ness.
attenuate (v.) Look up attenuate at
"to make thin, to make less," 1520s, from Latin attenuatus, past participle of attenuare "to make thin, lessen, diminish," from assimilated form of ad "to" (see ad-) + tenuare "make thin," from tenuis "thin," from PIE root *ten- "to stretch." Related: Attenuated; attenuating. Earlier was Middle English attenuen "to make thin (in consistency)," early 15c.
attenuation (n.) Look up attenuation at
early 15c., of persons, "emaciation;" of diet, "reduction," from Latin attenuationem (nominative attenuatio) "a lessening," noun of action from past participle stem of attenuare "to make thin, lessen, diminish," from assimilated form of ad "to" (see ad-) + tenuare "make thin," from tenuis "thin," from PIE root *ten- "to stretch." General sense of "a making less dense" is from 1590s; specifically of electrical currents by 1838.
attercop (n.) Look up attercop at
"spider," Old English atorcoppe "spider," literally "poison-head," from ator "poison, venom" (Middle English atter), from Proto-Germanic *aitra- "poisonous ulcer" (source also of 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]
It lingered in Northern England dialect in the sense "peevish, ill-natured person" (c. 1500).
attest (v.) Look up attest at
1590s, "bear witness to, officially confirm; give proof or evidence of," from Middle French attester (Old French atester, 13c.) "affirm, bear witness to," from Latin attestari "confirm, prove," literally "bear witness to," from assimilated form of ad "to" (see ad-) + testari "bear witness," from testis "witness" (see testament). Related: Attested; attesting.
attestation (n.) Look up attestation at
mid-15c., "testimony," 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). From 1670s as "a declaration in support of a fact."
attested (adj.) Look up attested at
"certified, proved," 1610s, past-participle adjective from attest (v.).
attic (n.) Look up attic at
"top story under the roof of a house," by 1807, shortened from attic story (1724). Attic 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), and it then 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].
Attic (adj.) Look up Attic at
1590s, "pertaining to Attica" (q.v.), the region around Athens, from Latin Atticus "Athenian," from Greek Attikos "Athenian, of Attica." The Attic dialect came to be regarded as the literary standard of ancient Greece, and it passed into the koine of the Alexandrine and Roman periods. Attested from 1560s as an architectural term for a type of column base.
Attica Look up Attica at
"region around Athens," traditionally explained as from Greek Attikos (Latin Atticus) "of Athens" (see Athens), which is supported by Beekes. An alternative guess is that it is ultimately from Greek akte "shore, maritime place," also "raised place."
attire (v.) Look up attire at
c. 1300, atiren, "to fit out, equip; to dress in finery, to adorn," from Old French atirer, earlier atirier "to equip, ready, prepare," from a- "to" (see ad-) + tire "order, row, dress" (see tier). Related: Attired; attiring.
attire (n.) Look up attire at
c. 1300, "equipment of a man-at-arms; apparel, dress, clothes," from attire (v.).
attitude (n.) Look up attitude at
1660s, "posture or position of a figure in a statue or painting," via French attitude (17c.), from Italian attitudine "disposition, posture," also "aptness, promptitude," from Late Latin aptitudinem (nominative aptitudo; see aptitude, which is its doublet).

Originally 17c. a technical term in art; later generalized to "a posture of the body supposed to imply some mental state" (1725). Sense of "a settled behavior reflecting feeling or opinion" is by 1837. Meaning "habitual mode of regarding" is short for attitude of mind (1757). Connotations of "antagonistic and uncooperative" developed by 1962 in slang.
attitudinal (adj.) Look up attitudinal at
"pertaining to attitude," 1831; see attitude + -al (1), and compare -tude.
attitudinise (v.) Look up attitudinise at
chiefly British English spelling of attitudinize; for spelling, see -ize. Related: Attitudinised; attitudinising.
attitudinize (v.) Look up attitudinize at
1784, "strike (physical) attitudes, pose affectedly, gesticulate;" see attitude + -ize. Of mental attitudes from 1864. Related: Attitudinized; attitudinizing. In 18c. English also had attitudinarian "one who affects attitudes" (1756).
atto- Look up atto- at
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
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," from Latin tornare "to turn on a lathe," from tornus "lathe," from Greek tornos "lathe, tool for drawing circles," from PIE root *tere- (1) "to rub, turn." In feudal law, "to transfer homage or allegiance to another lord."
attorney (n.) Look up attorney at
early 14c. (mid-13c. in Anglo-Latin), "one appointed by another to act in his place," from Old French atorné "(one) appointed," past participle of aturner "to decree, assign, appoint," from atorner "to assign," literally "to turn to" (see attorn). The sense is of "one appointed to represent another's interests."

In English law, a private attorney (attorney in fact) 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]
In U.S., barrister is not used and the general designation became properly attorney and counselor at law; when presenting a case in court, simply counselor. The double -t- is a mistaken 15c. attempt to restore a non-existent Latin original, perhaps by influence of legal Latin form attornare.
attorney-general (n.) Look up attorney-general at
"first ministerial law-officer of a state," 1530s (late 13c. in Anglo-French); see attorney + general (adj.). The word-order is French (subject first, adjective second), hence the eccentric plural, attorneys-general.
attract (v.) Look up attract at
early 15c., "draw (objects or persons) to oneself," also a medical term for the body's tendency to absorb fluids, nourishment, etc., or for a poultice treatment to "draw out" diseased matter; from Latin attractus, past participle of attrahere "to draw, pull; to attract," from assimilated form of ad "to" (see ad-) + trahere "to pull, draw" (see tract (n.1)).

Of physical forces (magnets, etc.), from 17c. Figurative sense of "be attractive, draw to oneself the eyes or attentions of others" is from 1690s. Related: Attracted; attracting.
attraction (n.) Look up attraction at
c. 1400, attraccioun, originally medical, "action or property of drawing (diseased matter) to the surface," from Old French atraccion (13c.) and directly from Latin attractionem (nominative attractio) "a drawing together," noun of action from past participle stem of attrahere "to draw, pull" (see attract).

Extended by c. 1600 to magnetic forces; figurative sense "quality in a person which draws interest or imagination" is from c. 1600. 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
late 14c., "absorptive," from Old French atractif "having the power to attract" (14c.), from attract-, past participle stem of Latin 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
"that which attracts," 1660s, noun use of adjective meaning "drawing to, attracting," from Latin attrahentem (nominative attrahens), present participle of attrahere (see attract).
attributable (adj.) Look up attributable at
"ascribable, imputable," 1660s, from attribute (v.) + -able.
attribute (n.) Look up attribute at
"quality ascribed to someone, distinguishing mark (especially an excellent or lofty one)," late 14c., from Latin attributum "anything attributed," in grammar, "predicate," noun use of neuter of attributus, past participle of attribuere "assign, allot; ascribe, impute" (see attribute (v.)). Distinguished from the verb by having stress on the first syllable.
attribute (v.) Look up attribute at
late 14c., "assign, bestow," from Latin attributus, past participle of attribuere "assign to, allot, commit, entrust;" figuratively "to attribute, ascribe, impute," from assimilated form of ad "to" (see ad-) + tribuere "assign, give, bestow" (see tribute). Related: Attributed; attributing.
attributes (n.) Look up attributes at
"qualities belonging to someone or something," c. 1600; see attribute (n.).
attribution (n.) Look up attribution at
late 15c., "action of bestowing or assigning," from Latin attributionem (nominative attributio) "an assignment, attribution," noun of action from past participle stem of attribuere "assign, allot; ascribe, impute," from assimilated form of ad "to" (see ad-) + tribuere "assign, give, bestow" (see tribute). Meaning "thing attributed" is recorded from 1580s.