One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A proponent of or expert in a physical theory which asserts that attraction is a consequence of an imperceptible attractive force intrinsic to the bodies involved and which operates at a distance, as opposed to being mediated by some mechanical process or other means; especially an adherent of Newton's theory of gravitation.
Mid 18th century; earliest use found in The London Magazine. From attraction + -ist.
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