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attach (v.)
mid-14c. (mid-13c. in Anglo-Latin), "to take or seize (property or goods) by law," a legal term, from Old French atachier "fasten; arrest" (11c.), earlier estachier "to attach, fix; stake up, support" (Modern French attacher, also compare Italian attaccare), from a- "to" (see ad-) + base also found in detatch, perhaps from Frankish *stakon "a post, stake" or a similar Germanic word, from Proto-Germanic *stakon- "a stake," from PIE root *steg- (1) "pole, stick" (see stake (n.)).

Meaning "to fasten, affix, connect," which probably is the original sense etymologically, is attested in English from c. 1400. Related: Attached; attaching.
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attachable (adj.)
1570s, "liable to arrest," from attach + -able. Meaning "capable of being tacked on" is attested by 1856.
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attached (adj.)
"affectionate, devoted, fond," 1793, past-participle adjective from attach in the sense "join to or with in companionship or affection" (1765). Earlier the adjective meant "arrested" (1610s). The literal sense of "fastened on" is from 1841.
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attache (n.)
1835, from French attaché "junior officer attached to the staff of an ambassador, etc.," literally "attached," noun use of past participle of attacher "to attach" (see attach). Attache case "small leather case for carrying papers" first recorded 1900.
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attachment (n.)
c. 1400, "arrest of a person on judicial warrant" (mid-13c. in Anglo-Latin), from Anglo-French attachement, from Old French attacher "to attach" (see attach). Application to property (including, later, wages) dates from 1590s; meaning "sympathy, devotion" is recorded from 1704; that of "something that is attached to something else" dates from 1797 and has become very common since the rise of e-mail.
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unattached (adj.)
late 15c., "not arrested or seized," from un- (1) "not" + past participle of attach (v.). Meaning "not associated with any body or institution" is recorded from 1796; sense of "single, not engaged or married" is first attested 1874.
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reattach (v.)

also re-attach, "attach anew or again," in any sense, c. 1600 originally in legalese and now obsolete in that sense; see re- "back, again" + attach (v.). The general sense of "to attach again" is by 1813 and might be a new formation. Related: Reattached; reattaching; reattachment (1570s in the legal sense).

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detach (v.)

1680s, "unfasten, disunite" (transitive), especially "separate for a special purpose or service," from French détacher "to detach, untie," from Old French destachier, from des- "apart" (see des-) + attachier "attach" (see attach). Related: Detached; detaching.

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attack (v.)
c. 1600, "assault, assail, begin hostilities against," from French attaquer (16c.), from Florentine Italian attaccare (battaglia) "join (battle)," thus the word is a doublet of attach, which was used 15c.-17c. also in the sense now reserved to attack. Meaning "endeavor to bring into discredit by writing, proposals, etc." is from 1640s. General sense of "begin action" is from 1670s, originally of diseases. Related: Attacked; attacking.
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cantankerous (adj.)
"marked by ill-tempered contradiction or opposition," 1772, said by Grose to be "a Wiltshire word," conjectured to be from an alteration (influenced perhaps by raucous) of a dialectal survival of Middle English contakour "troublemaker" (c. 1300), from Anglo-French contec "discord, strife," from Old French contechier (Old North French contekier), from con- "with" + teche, related to atachier "hold fast" (see attach). With -ous. Related: Cantankerously; cantankerousness.
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