One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
(of an adjective or other modifier) preceding the word that it modifies and expressing an attribute, as old in the old dog (but not in the dog is old) and expiry in expiry date.Contrasted with predicative
- ‘‘Fast’ and ‘big’ are what Geach has called attributive adjectives; ‘brown’ is called a predicative adjective.’
- ‘When we use the expression a London Fog raincoat, we use London Fog as an attributive modifier of the noun raincoat.’
- ‘In his introduction to the book, the 6th word is an attributive adjective.’
- ‘Word combination often leads to strings of adjectives and attributive nouns, a style that began in Time magazine in the 1920s, with the aim of providing impact and ‘colour’.’
Mid 18th century (as a noun in the sense ‘a word expressing an attribute’): from French attributif, -ive, from attribut ‘an attribute’, from Latin attribuere ‘add to’ (see attribute).
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