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a dependent member of a sentence grammatically subordinated to a substantive (or noun in languages without grammatical differentiation of nouns) and indicating a characteristic of an object, phenomenon, and the like.
An attribute may be (in Russian, German, Latin, many other Indo-European languages, Arabic, and Bantu, for example) in agreement (bol’shoi gorod, “big city”; nash sad, “our garden”) or nonagreement (dom s mezoninom, “house with an attic”; German, das Buch des Genossen, “the comrade’s book”). In some languages (Semitic, Turkic, and others), the addition of an attribute (corresponding to a Russian attribute in the genitive case) to a noun requires morphological changes in the dependent word (called postpositional attributive construction). Apposition is a special kind of attribution.
Examples include the href attribute of an HTML anchor element, the columns of a database table considered as attributes of each row, and the members (properties and methods of an object in OOP. This contrasts with the contents of some kind of container (e.g. an array), which are typically not named. The contents of an associative array, though they might be considered to be named by their key values, are not normally thought of as attributes.
attribute(1) A file access classification. See file attribute and archive attribute.
(2) In relational database management, an attribute is a field within a record (column within a row). See relational database.
(3) In object technology, an attribute is a single element of data. See instance attribute and static attribute.
(4) For printers and screens, an attribute is a characteristic that changes a font, for example, from normal to boldface or underlined. See font characteristics.
(5) In an XML document, an attribute is a sub-element defined within an element. In the following example, GENDER and AGE are attributes within the PERSON element. See XML.