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noun ten·den·cy \ˈten-dən(t)-sē\

Simple Definition of tendency

  • : a quality that makes something likely to happen or that makes someone likely to think or behave in a particular way

  • : a way of behaving, proceeding, etc., that is developing and becoming more common

Full Definition of tendency

plural ten·den·cies

  1. 1a :  direction or approach toward a place, object, effect, or limitb :  a proneness to a particular kind of thought or action

  2. 2a :  the purposeful trend of something written or said :  aimb :  deliberate but indirect advocacy

Examples of tendency

  1. The economy has shown a general tendency toward inflation.

  2. <a tendency to drop things>

Origin of tendency

Medieval Latin tendentia, from Latin tendent-, tendens, present participle of tendere

First Known Use: 1628

Synonym Discussion of tendency

tendency, trend, drift, tenor, current mean movement in a particular direction. tendency implies an inclination sometimes amounting to an impelling force <a general tendency toward inflation>. trend applies to the general direction maintained by a winding or irregular course <the long-term trend of the stock market is upward>. drift may apply to a tendency determined by external forces <the drift of the population away from large cities> or it may apply to an underlying or obscure trend of meaning or discourse <got the drift of her argument>. tenor stresses a clearly perceptible direction and a continuous, undeviating course <the tenor of the times>. current implies a clearly defined but not necessarily unalterable course <an encounter that changed the current of my life>.

TENDENCY Defined for Kids


noun ten·den·cy \ˈten-dən-sē\

Definition of tendency

plural ten·den·cies

  1. 1 :  a leaning toward a particular kind of thought or action <Elizabeth had a tendency to worry about things like not having permission. — Zilpha Keatley Snyder, The Egypt Game>

  2. 2 :  a way of doing something that is becoming more common :  trend

Seen and Heard

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February 13, 2016

a trying or distressing experience

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