AskDefine | Define appertain

Dictionary Definition

appertain v : be a part or attribute of [syn: pertain]

User Contributed Dictionary



Old English apperteinen, apertenen, Old French apartenir, French appartenir, from Latin appertinere; ad + pertinere to reach to, belong. See Pertain.



  1. To belong or pertain, whether by right, nature, appointment, or custom; to relate.


In this great stretch of country there is no sign of life, nor of anything appertaining to life. There is no bird in the steel-blue heaven, no movement upon the dull, grey earth — above all, there is absolute silence. Listen as one may, there is no shadow of a sound in all that mighty wilderness; nothing but silence — complete and heart-subduing silence.
—Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in A Study in Scarlet

Extensive Definition

Appurtenances (from late Latin appertinentia, from appertinere, "to appertain") is a legal term for what belongs to and goes with something else, the accessories or things usually conjoined with the substantive matter in question.
In Gestalt theory, appurtenance (or "belongingness") is the relation between two things seen which exert influence on each other. For example, fields of color exert influence on each other. "A field part x is determined in its appearance by its 'appurtenance' to other field parts. The more x belongs to the field part y, the more will its whiteness be determined by the gradient xy, and the less it belongs to the part z, the less will its whiteness depend on the gradient xz."1


1Koffa (1935) p246 qtd in Gilchrist (Seeing Black and White p. 63)
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