in·​cli·​na·​tion | \ˌin-klə-ˈnā-shən, 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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from inclination

inclinational \ ˌin-​klə-​ˈnā-​shnəl , -​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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

The bad news is that Mr Netanyahu, who has based his electoral success on divisive politics and the fear of Arabs, shows little inclination to use Israel’s moment of advantage to seek a lasting peace with Palestinians. The Economist, "Israel at 70," 17 May 2018 But the writer-director shows little inclination to either build suspense or maintain dramatic focus; characters (including the initially dominant father and the first drug lord) come and go casually, and the kids are scarcely individualized. Todd Mccarthy, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Buy Me a Gun': Film Review | Cannes 2018," 14 May 2018 Her inclination to choose bad partners leads her to a meth-addicted illiterate felon who inexplicably captures his mother’s heart and forces Gold to finally come to terms with his past. Jim Ruland,, "A feral California childhood is revealed in Glen David Gold's 'I Will Be Complete'," 27 June 2018 Israel, for its part, shows no inclination of backing down. Neri Zilber, Vox, "Israel and Iran’s escalating shadow war in Syria, explained," 25 Apr. 2018 Baikonur is situated at a latitude of 46 degrees, which means that the Russian missions heading to the Chinese space station would have to conduct propellant-hungry maneuvers to reduce their orbital inclination. Anatoly Zak, Popular Mechanics, "Russia's Space Agency Might Break Up With the U.S. To Get With China," 7 Mar. 2018 Your inclination might be to do the opposite, but resist behaving in that way., "We can’t afford to replace empathy with apathy," 10 July 2018 My inclination at this point is to swipe up on a card representing a running app to remove it. Edward C. Baig, USA TODAY, "Apple's next iPhone and iOS 12: Here's what Apple should change," 1 June 2018 The contemporary Irish artist Alex Rose is something of a recluse, too, and his shadowy photographs of nubile youths share Jess’s Romantic inclinations. New York Times, "10 Galleries to Visit Now on the Lower East Side," 26 Apr. 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.

See More

First Known Use of inclination

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about inclination

Share inclination

Statistics for inclination

Last Updated

31 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for inclination

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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 \

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- \

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


obstinately defiant of authority

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Autumn Words of the Day 2018

  • a-top-down-image-of-road-through-an-autumn-forest
  • Which is a synonym of fugacious?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!