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noun dis·po·si·tion \ˌdis-pə-ˈzi-shən\

Simple Definition of disposition

  • : the usual attitude or mood of a person or animal

  • : a tendency to act or think in a particular way

  • : a tendency to develop a disease, condition, etc.

Full Definition of disposition

  1. 1 :  the act or the power of disposing or the state of being disposed: as a :  administration, control b :  final arrangement :  settlement <the disposition of the case> c (1) :  transfer to the care or possession of another (2) :  the power of such transferal d :  orderly arrangement (see 1dispose)

  2. 2 a :  prevailing tendency, mood, or inclination b :  temperamental makeup c :  the tendency of something to act in a certain manner under given circumstances

dis·po·si·tion·al play \-ˈzish-nəl, -ˈzi-shə-nəl\ adjective

Examples of disposition

  1. They move jerkily, like puppets, but have a happy disposition; they are perpetually smiling and are given to frequent paroxysms of laughter. —Matt Ridley, Genome, 1999

  2. … the eight species of wild equids (horses and their relatives) vary greatly in disposition, even though all eight are genetically so close to each other that they will interbreed and produce healthy (though usually sterile) offspring. —Jared Diamond, Guns, Germs, and Steel, 1997

  3. His father, Increase [Mather], with all his faults—his sour, depressive disposition, his open preference for England—is much more attractive. —Monroe K. Spears, American Ambitions, 1987

  4. Her easy disposition and sociability masked the intensity of her feelings. —John Edgar Wideman, Bothers and Keepers, 1984

  5. a dog with an excellent disposition

  6. Her disposition was to always think negatively.

  7. He has a disposition toward criminal behavior.

  8. people with a genetic disposition toward a particular disease

  9. A will is a legal document that is used in the disposition of property.

Origin of disposition

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin disposition-, dispositio, from disponere (see 1dispose)

First Known Use: 14th century

Synonym Discussion of disposition

disposition, temperament, temper, character, personality mean the dominant quality or qualities distinguishing a person or group. disposition implies customary moods and attitude toward the life around one <a cheerful disposition>. temperament implies a pattern of innate characteristics associated with one's specific physical and nervous organization <an artistic temperament>. temper implies the qualities acquired through experience that determine how a person or group meets difficulties or handles situations <a resilient temper>. character applies to the aggregate of moral qualities by which a person is judged apart from intelligence, competence, or special talents <strength of character>. personality applies to an aggregate of qualities that distinguish one as a person <a somber personality>.

DISPOSITION Defined for Kids


noun dis·po·si·tion \ˌdis-pə-ˈzi-shən\

Definition of disposition

  1. 1 :  a person's usual attitude or mood <His disposition had been … sour lately. — Mildred D. Taylor, Roll of Thunder>

  2. 2 :  tendency 1, liking <She has a disposition to complain.>

  3. 3 :  arrangement 1

Seen and Heard

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February 7, 2016

a slight offense

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