c. 1400, attraccioun, originally medical, "action or property of drawing (diseased matter) to the surface," from Old French atraccion (13c.) and directly from Latin attractionem (nominative attractio) "a drawing together," noun of action from past-participle stem of attrahere "to draw, pull" (see attract).
Extended by c. 1600 to magnetic forces; figurative sense "quality in a person which draws interest or imagination" is from c. 1600. Meaning "a thing which draws a crowd, interesting or amusing exhibition" is from 1829, a sense that developed in English and soon transferred to the French equivalent of the word.
updated on August 11, 2018