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The term attribute is used to denote the syntactic function of an adnominal modifier, such as genitive NP, adjective phrase, relative clause, i.e. any kind of adnominal modifier.


genitive NP: English the donkey of Sam, Sam's donkey

adjective phrase: English the old tree

relative clause (restrictive): English the house that is green


The term with this meaning is particulary common in the grammatical traditions of German (Attribut, Beifügung) and Russian (opredelenie). The term attribute in this sense is not so common in English, though the adjective attributive is widely used.


See also predicative attribute.



From Latin attributum 'what has been attributed'. First attested in this grammatical sense in the early 19th century.