in·​cli·​na·​tion | \ ˌin-klə-ˈnā-shən How to pronounce inclination (audio) , ˌiŋ-\

Definition of inclination

1a obsolete : natural disposition : character
b : a particular disposition of mind or character : propensity especially : liking had little inclination for housekeeping
2 : an act or the action of bending or inclining: such as
a : bow, nod
b : a tilting of something
3a : a deviation from the true vertical or horizontal : slant also : the degree of such deviation
b : an inclined surface : slope
c(1) : the angle determined by two lines or planes
(2) : the angle made by a line with the x-axis measured counterclockwise from the positive direction of that axis
4 : a tendency to a particular aspect, state, character, or action the clutch has an inclination to slip

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Other Words from inclination

inclinational \ ˌin-​klə-​ˈnā-​shnəl How to pronounce inclinational (audio) , -​shə-​nᵊl , ˌiŋ-​ \ adjective

Examples of inclination in a Sentence

She shows no inclination to give in to their demands. He's a loner by inclination. My first inclination was to say no, but I finally decided to do what she asked. I have neither the time nor the inclination to learn about such matters.
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Recent Examples on the Web

All in all the official seems to have relatively standard conservative or center-right views, as well as a temperamental inclination toward civility rather than confrontational, triggering-the-libs politics. Andrew Prokop, Vox, "Who is the senior Trump official who wrote the New York Times op-ed?," 6 Sep. 2018 Pressley's win is another inclination that the upcoming midterm cycle will continue to favor progressive female candidates set on challenging the current political landscape (and running kick-ass campaigns). Julyssa Lopez, Glamour, "Ayanna Pressley Reacting to Her Historic Massachusetts Primary Win Will Make Your Day," 5 Sep. 2018 Yet the sensation of being casually stared at, sized-up, and generally found wanting by every passerby with the inclination to do so left me feeling slightly like a panda in a zoo with no bamboo shoots to hide behind. Steve King, Condé Nast Traveler, "Why We Keep Going Back to Amsterdam," 24 Dec. 2018 With January just around the corner, the collective inclination is to look back. Vogue, "On the Vogue Podcast, Editors Look Back at 2018’s Biggest Fashion Moments," 20 Dec. 2018 Then the film shifts to teenager Miles Morales (voiced by Shameik Moore), whose artistic inclinations don’t necessarily please his police officer father (Brian Tyree Henry). Bryan Bishop, The Verge, "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is dazzling, hilarious, and unique," 14 Dec. 2018 And President Trump so far has shown no inclination to fire a cabinet official who is leading efforts to deregulate the economy and eliminate Obama-era environmental rules. Ledyard King, USA TODAY, "Democrats ask Justice, FBI for criminal corruption probe into EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt," 8 June 2018 Bay Area Democrats showed no inclination to go along. Carolyn Lochhead, San Francisco Chronicle, "No Dreamer protections, no support among state Democrats for spending bill," 17 Jan. 2018 In fact, a brief survey of Sephardi synagogues reveals competing impulses: devotion to tradition vying with assimilationist inclinations. Leslie Camhi, ELLE Decor, "Inside the World's Most Beautiful Synagogues," 5 Nov. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'inclination.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of inclination

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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Last Updated

21 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for inclination

The first known use of inclination was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for inclination



English Language Learners Definition of inclination

: a feeling of wanting to do something : a tendency to do something
: a slanting surface
: the act of bending your head or body forward : the act of inclining your head or body


in·​cli·​na·​tion | \ ˌin-klə-ˈnā-shən How to pronounce inclination (audio) \

Kids Definition of inclination

1 : an act or the action of bending or leaning
2 : a usually favorable feeling toward something His inclination was to walk rather than drive.
3 : slant entry 2, tilt a steep inclination


in·​cli·​na·​tion | \ ˌin-klə-ˈnā-shən, ˌiŋ- How to pronounce inclination (audio) \

Medical Definition of inclination

: a deviation from the true vertical or horizontal especially : the deviation of the long axis of a tooth or of the slope of a cusp from the vertical

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Comments on inclination

What made you want to look up inclination? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to reflect, repel, echo, or resound

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