1. A taking of the person, goods or estate by a writ or precept in a civil action, to secure a debt or demand.
2. A writ directing the person or estate of a person to be taken, to secure his appearance before a court. In England, the first notice to appear in court is by summons; and if the defendant disobeys this monition, a writ of attachment issues, commanding the sheriff to attach him, by taking gage, or security in goods, which he forfeits by non-appearance, or by making him find safe pledges or sureties for his appearance. But in trespasses, an attachment is more generally the first process. In this country, attachment is more generally the first process, and in some states, the writ of attachment issues at first against the property or person of the defendant. In Connecticut, this writ issues against the person, goods or land, in the first instance, commanding to take the goods and estate of the defendant, if to be found; or otherwise, to take his body. In England, witnesses not appearing upon a summons, may be taken by attachment; a process called with us a capias. Attachments also issue against persons for contempt of court. The court of attachments, in England, is held before the verderors of the forest, to attach and try offenders against vert and vension.
Foreign attachment is the taking of the money or goods of a debtor in the hands of a stranger; as when the debtor is not within the jurisdiction of the court or has absconded. Any person who has goods or effects of a debtor, is considered in law as the agent, attorney, factor or trustee of the debtor; and an attachment served on such person binds the property in his hands to respond the judgment against the debtor.
3. Close adherence or affection; fidelity; regard; any passion or affection that binds a person; as, an attachment to a friend, or to a party.