from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Grammar A word or word group, such as an adjective, that is placed adjacent to the noun it modifies without a linking verb; for example, pale in the pale girl.
  • adj. Grammar Of, relating to, or being an attributive, as an adjective.
  • adj. Of or having the nature of an attribution or attribute.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Modifying a noun, while in the same phrase as that noun.
  • adj. Having the nature of an attribute.
  • n. An attributive word or phrase (see above), contrasted with predicative.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Attributing; pertaining to, expressing, or assigning an attribute; of the nature of an attribute.
  • n. A word that denotes an attribute; esp. a modifying word joined to a noun; an adjective or adjective phrase.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Pertaining to or having the character of attribution: as, the attributive use or relation of certain words; attributive qualities or insignia; an attributive judgment (in logic).
  • In grammar, pertaining to or expressing an attribute; used (as a word) in direct description without predication: as, a bad pen, a burning house, a ruined man.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. of adjectives; placed before the nouns they modify


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • And sentences like 4 are what, following Geach [1960], I'll call attributive uses of “good”, because

    Value Theory

  • ˜Fast™ and ˜big™ are what Geach has called attributive adjectives; ˜brown™ is called a predicative adjective.


  • The word 'attributive' in logic embraces both the adjective and participle of grammar.

    Deductive Logic

  • attributive: -s/-l directive: -is locative: -eBy renaming the genitive case as "attributive", we make it clearer that these endings are not just restricted to mere "possessives" or "ablatives" but rather we recognize their many other usages.

    Liber Linteus and religious formulae, part 2

  • To shift the discussion just a bit, whether or not we say present participles and gerunds should be differentiated as distinct parts of speech, it still seems to me that except for in cases of a present participle in the slot of attributive adjective (ex/The steering wheel of my car is blue) gerunds and present participles take objects (I like driving my car).

    G is for Gerund « An A-Z of ELT

  • The survey was actually part of an advertising for a medical professional headhunter service, and was neither scientific, nor attributive.

    r_urell: So, predictably, healthcare reform domin

  • A sublime poet, his literary output is as long as it is impressive and includes: Jaap Sahib, invoking the many attributive names of the Divine; Sawaiyyas (quatrains); Akal Ustat (Lauding the Timeless); Chandi Ki Var, a ballad depicting the eternal contest between good and evil; and Zafarnama (Epistle of Victory), a defiant letter to the Mughal Emperor.

    Ravinder Singh Taneja: The Incomparable Guru Gobind Singh

  • I used an attributive, not a predicative adjective.

    The Volokh Conspiracy » “We Have to Pass the Bill So That You Can Find Out What Is In It”

  • It's true that attributive nouns are normally neutral with respect to number; so we say Toothpaste protects against tooth decay, even though we're talking about all our teeth, I sat in an armchair, even though the chair has two arms, and a five-pound note, a three-year-old child, and so on, even though in postmodifying position the expressions would be plural - a child of three years, a note worth five pounds.

    On plural adjectives

  • [2] Bomhard/Kerns, The Nostratic macrofamily: A study in distant linguistic relationship (1994), p.161 (see link): Thus, in a consistent SOV language, an attributive adjective or a genitive precedes its 'head' noun, an adverb precedes its adjective or verb, a noun precedes its case ending or postposition, [...]

    Etruscan syntactic inversion


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  • "In grammar, pertaining to or expressing an attribute; used (as a word) in direct description without predication: as, a bad pen, a burning house, a ruined man."

    -- from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

    March 1, 2018

  • noun as adjective (cf. gerund, participle)

    May 28, 2011