attribution

"A wise man once said..." Ever wonder who said that famous quotation? Then you're curious about its attribution. An attribution identifies a source or cause of something — in this case, the person who first said the quote.

Attribution often involves identifying the author or source of written material or a work of art. If you want to prove that painting you found in your basement is a van Gogh, you'd produce evidence to ensure proper attribution. The word can be used more generally to indicate the source of anything, whether it's a bombing, climate change, or success. For example, attribution of your success might be hard work and the support of family and friends.

Definitions of attribution
  1. noun
    assigning to a cause or source
    “the attribution of lighting to an expression of God's wrath”
    “he questioned the attribution of the painting to Picasso”
    synonyms: ascription
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    types:
    animatism
    the attribution of consciousness and personality to natural phenomena such as thunderstorms and earthquakes and to objects such as plants and stones
    imputation
    the attribution to a source or cause
    externalisation, externalization
    attributing to outside causes
    type of:
    categorisation, categorization, classification, sorting
    the basic cognitive process of arranging into classes or categories
  2. noun
    assigning some quality or character to a person or thing
    “the attribution of language to birds”
    synonyms: ascription
    see moresee less
    types:
    zoomorphism
    the attribution of animal forms or qualities to a god
    type of:
    categorisation, categorization, classification, sorting
    the basic cognitive process of arranging into classes or categories
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