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

Definition of inclination

1 : a tendency to a particular aspect, state, character, or action the clutch has an inclination to slip
2a : 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
3 : an act or the action of bending or inclining: such as
a : bow, nod
b : a tilting of something
4a : a particular disposition of mind or character : propensity especially : liking had little inclination for housekeeping
b obsolete : natural disposition : character

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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 Apolitical by nature and inclination, military officers have sought to maintain a cordial, professional relationship with Trump. Michael Collins, USA TODAY, "Trump heads to West Point amid tension with top military brass and a nation whipsawed by racial tension," 13 June 2020 This inclination, though mysterious even to me, may be related to what David Kessler, a grief expert, has described as our communal response to the coronavirus. Megan Evershed, The New Republic, "Reading the Literature of Grief During a Pandemic," 9 July 2020 The initial angle of inclination as the snake is hanging determines the flight path. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Undulating their bodies keeps flying snakes from tumbling out of control," 2 July 2020 Only two—a genial Australian and a sensitive Canadian—indicated their inclination to support Britain, albeit with some evident discomfort. Philippe Sands, The New York Review of Books, "Britain’s Colonial Legacy on Trial at The Hague," 23 June 2020 What is significant is the effect the decision could have on women’s inclination to report. Courtney Shea,, "So Is Being Drunk A Defence For Sexual Assault Now?," 18 June 2020 Talk a little bit about the climate and the inclination to do these projects. Shauna Stuart |, al, "‘We have to change it’: Birmingham pastry chefs on baking for social justice," 26 June 2020 If the public’s increasing appetite for single-use plastic worries environmentalists, then so too does its diminishing inclination to recycle materials that can be reused. The Economist, "Sea of troubles Covid-19 has led to a pandemic of plastic pollution," 22 June 2020 Many still believed, because of the negative publicity and Bazbaz’s initial inclination to point fingers at Lizette and Mauricio, that the parents were allegedly involved in their little girl’s death somehow. Gina Vaynshteyn,, "Netflix’s The Search Tells Of One Of Mexico’s Most Devastating True Crime Stories," 16 June 2020

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 4b

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Time Traveler for inclination

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for inclination

Last Updated

5 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Inclination.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for inclination


How to pronounce inclination (audio)

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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