verb (used with object)
- to draw by a physical force causing or tending to cause to approach, adhere, or unite; pull (opposed to The gravitational force of the earth attracts smaller bodies to it.):
- to draw by appealing to the emotions or senses, by stimulating interest, or by exciting admiration; allure; invite: to attract attention; to attract admirers by one’s charm.
verb (used without object)
- to possess or exert the power of .
verb (mainly tr)
- to draw (notice, a crowd of observers, etc) to oneself by conspicuous behaviour or appearance (esp in the phrase attract attention)
- (also intr) to exert a force on (a body) that tends to cause an approach or oppose a separationthe gravitational pull of the earth attracts objects to it
- to possess some property that pulls or draws (something) towards itselfjam attracts wasps
- (also intr) to exert a pleasing, alluring, or fascinating influence (upon); be attractive (to)
early 15c., from Latin attractus, past participle of attrahere “to draw, pull; to attract,” from ad- “to” (see ) + trahere “draw” (see (n.1)).
Originally a medical term for the body’s tendency to absorb fluids, nourishment, etc., or for a poultice treatment to “draw out” diseased matter (1560s). Of the ability of people or animals to draw others to them, it is attested from 1560s; of physical forces (magnetism, etc.), from c.1600 (implied in attraction). Related: Attracted; attracting.