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Vocabulary Word

Word: attribute

Definition: essential quality; V: ascribe; explain


Sentences Containing 'attribute'

It was an old fashioned place, moreover, in the moral attribute that the partners in the House were proud of its smallness, proud of its darkness, proud of its ugliness, proud of its incommodiousness.
``A thorough, determined dislike of me a dislike which I can not but attribute in some measure to jealousy.
As I must therefore conclude that you are not serious in your rejection of me, I shall choose to attribute it to your wish of increasing my love by suspense, according to the usual practice of elegant females.''
``For we must attribute this happy conclusion,''she added,``in a great measure to his kindness.
Do not attribute to me more than I deserve, sire, that your majesty may never have occasion to recall the first opinion you have been pleased to form of me.''
``Indeed,''said Maximilian,``I have often been almost tempted to attribute to him the gift of prophecy; at all events, he has a wonderful power of foretelling any future good.''
``Dear Maximilian, why not attribute your escape to my constant prayers for your safety?
``But to what do you attribute this conduct?''
``You must attribute it only to natural scruples under similar circumstances.''
A third party attribute to it existence and forethought, but only for great and heavenly matters, not for anything that is on earth.
To this latter agency he seems to attribute all the beautiful adaptations in nature; such as the long neck of the giraffe for browsing on the branches of trees.
In one limited sense, as we shall hereafter see, this may be true; but it is preposterous to attribute to mere external conditions, the structure, for instance, of the woodpecker, with its feet, tail, beak, and tongue, so admirably adapted to catch insects under the bark of trees.
When any deviation of structure often appears, and we see it in the father and child, we cannot tell whether it may not be due to the same cause having acted on both; but when among individuals, apparently exposed to the same conditions, any very rare deviation, due to some extraordinary combination of circumstances, appears in the parent--say, once among several million individuals--and it reappears in the child, the mere doctrine of chances almost compels us to attribute its reappearance to inheritance.
When we travel from south to north, or from a damp region to a dry, we invariably see some species gradually getting rarer and rarer, and finally disappearing; and the change of climate being conspicuous, we are tempted to attribute the whole effect to its direct action.
Now the number of mice is largely dependent, as every one knows, on the number of cats; and Colonel Newman says, "Near villages and small towns I have found the nests of humble-bees more numerous than elsewhere, which I attribute to the number of cats that destroy the mice."
When we look at the plants and bushes clothing an entangled bank, we are tempted to attribute their proportional numbers and kinds to what we call chance.
Yet, I would not wish to attribute all sexual differences to this agency: for we see in our domestic animals peculiarities arising and becoming attached to the male sex, which apparently have not been augmented through selection by man.
But it would in most cases be extremely rash to attribute to convergence a close and general similarity of structure in the modified descendants of widely distinct forms.
How much weight to attribute to these several considerations I will not pretend to say; but conjointly they must limit in each country the tendency to an indefinite augmentation of specific forms.
According to the ordinary view of each species having been independently created, we should have to attribute this similarity in the enlarged stems of these three plants, not to the vera causa of community of descent, and a consequent tendency to vary in a like manner, but to three separate yet closely related acts of creation.
When the same organ is found in several members of the same class, especially if in members having very different habits of life, we may generally attribute its presence to inheritance from a common ancestor; and its absence in some of the members to loss through disuse or natural selection.
But it is impossible to attribute to this cause the innumerable structures which are so well adapted to the habits of life of each species.
Of their cause we are quite ignorant; we cannot even attribute them, as in the last class of cases, to any proximate agency, such as relative position.
He likewise often assumes that I attribute nothing to variation, independently of natural selection, whereas in the work just referred to I have collected a greater number of well-established cases than can be found in any other work known to me.
We may also attribute to the inherited effects of use the fact of the mouth in several kinds of flat-fish being bent towards the lower surface, with the jaw bones stronger and more effective on this, the eyeless side of the head, than on the other, for the sake, as Dr. Traquair supposes, of feeding with ease on the ground.
How much to attribute in each particular case to the effects of use, and how much to natural selection, it seems impossible to decide.
We may safely attribute the greater wildness of our large birds to this cause; for in uninhabited islands large birds are not more fearful than small; and the magpie, so wary in England, is tame in Norway, as is the hooded crow in Egypt.
On the other hand, habit alone in some cases has sufficed; hardly any animal is more difficult to tame than the young of the wild rabbit; scarcely any animal is tamer than the young of the tame rabbit; but I can hardly suppose that domestic rabbits have often been selected for tameness alone; so that we must attribute at least the greater part of the inherited change from extreme wildness to extreme tameness, to habit and long-continued close confinement.
Had this horse been still living, but in some degree rare, no naturalist would have felt the least surprise at its rarity; for rarity is the attribute of a vast number of species of all classes, in all countries.
But as my conclusions have lately been much misrepresented, and it has been stated that I attribute the modification of species exclusively to natural selection, I may be permitted to remark that in the first edition of this work, and subsequently, I placed in a most conspicuous position--namely, at the close of the Introduction--the following words: "I am convinced that natural selection has been the main but not the exclusive means of modification."
But as I am persuaded that no one can long persevere in the attempt to win love unsustained by some hope, I am willing to attribute to myself the blame of thy assurance, for no doubt some thoughtlessness of mine has all this time fostered thy hopes; and therefore will I punish myself and inflict upon myself the penalty thy guilt deserves.
Leandra's youth furnished an excuse for her fault, at least with those to whom it was of no consequence whether she was good or bad; but those who knew her shrewdness and intelligence did not attribute her misdemeanour to ignorance but to wantonness and the natural disposition of women, which is for the most part flighty and ill-regulated.
This Gines de Pasamonte--Don Ginesillo de Parapilla, Don Quixote called him--it was that stole Dapple from Sancho Panza; which, because by the fault of the printers neither the how nor the when was stated in the First Part, has been a puzzle to a good many people, who attribute to the bad memory of the author what was the error of the press.
This I say, Sancho, that thou attribute not the favour thou hast received to thine own merits, but give thanks to heaven that disposes matters beneficently, and secondly thanks to the great power the profession of knight-errantry contains in itself.
But, first, we attribute power to a vast number of objects, where we never can suppose this resistance or exertion of force to take place; to the Supreme Being, who never meets with any resistance; to the mind in its command over its ideas and limbs, in common thinking and motion, where the effect follows immediately upon the will, without any exertion or summoning up of force; to inanimate matter, which is not capable of this sentiment.
In like manner, it is not any energy in the will that produces local motion in our members: It is God himself, who is pleased to second our will, in itself impotent, and to command that motion which we erroneously attribute to our own power and efficacy.
Or, _Secondly_, if they be criminal, we must retract the attribute of perfection, which we ascribe to the Deity, and must acknowledge him to be the ultimate author of guilt and moral turpitude in all his creatures.
If they tell me, that they have mounted on the steps or by the gradual ascent of reason, and by drawing inferences from effects to causes, I still insist, that they have aided the ascent of reason by the wings of imagination; otherwise they could not thus change their manner of inference, and argue from causes to effects; presuming, that a more perfect production than the present world would be more suitable to such perfect beings as the gods, and forgetting that they have no reason to ascribe to these celestial beings any perfection or any attribute, but what can be found in the present world.
The Deity is known to us only by his productions, and is a single being in the universe, not comprehended under any species or genus, from whose experienced attributes or qualities, we can, by analogy, infer any attribute or quality in him.
But this method of reasoning can never have place with regard to a Being, so remote and incomprehensible, who bears much less analogy to any other being in the universe than the sun to a waxen taper, and who discovers himself only by some faint traces or outlines, beyond which we have no authority to ascribe to him any attribute or perfection.
Nothing is farther from my thoughts than to attribute any degree of artifice to Mr. jorkins.
It may be profitable to that gentleman to know, sir, that I attribute my past follies, entirely to having lived a thoughtless life in the service of young men; and to having allowed myself to be led by them into weaknesses, which I had not the strength to resist.
Nor, in quite other aspects, does Nature in her least palpable but not the less malicious agencies, fail to enlist among her forces this crowning attribute of the terrible.

More Vocab Words

::: giddy - light-hearted; not serious; frivolous; dizzy; causing dizziness; Ex. giddy youth; Ex. giddy climb/height
::: guileless - without deceit
::: tenacity - firmness; persistence
::: nourishment - something that nourishes; food
::: inamorata - woman whom a man loves
::: shear - remove (fleece or hair) by cutting; remove the hair or fleece from; cut with or as if with shears; N: shears; pair of scissors
::: embroil - throw into confusion; involve in strife, dispute, or quarrel; entangle; CF. imbroglio
::: rabble - mob; noisy crowd
::: ineffectual - not effective; not having a desired effect; weak
::: denotation - meaning; distinguishing by name; V. denote: indicate; refer to directly; mean; CF. connotation