: a strong and continued inclination; broadly : liking
Susan's penchant for mathematics helped her to become a successful electrical engineer.
"She had a penchant for helping others and became a lifelong volunteer, particularly after her retirement." -- From an obituary in The Burlington Free Press, June 2, 2011
Did You Know?
Like its synonyms "leaning," "propensity," and "proclivity," "penchant" implies a strong instinct or liking for something. But these four words, while similar, are also distinguished by subtle differences. "Leaning" usually suggests a liking or attraction not strong enough to be decisive or uncontrollable ("a student with artistic leanings"), whereas "propensity" tends to imply a deeply ingrained and usually irresistible inclination ("a propensity to offer advice"). "Proclivity" frequently suggests a strong, natural proneness to something objectionable or evil ("a proclivity for violence"). "Penchant," a descendant of Latin "pendere" ("to weigh"), typically implies a strongly marked taste in the person or an irresistible attraction in the object ("a penchant for taking risks").
Word Family Quiz
What relative of "penchant" means "musingly or dreamily thoughtful" or "suggestive of sad thoughtfulness"? The answer is ...