in·​cli·​na·​tion ˌin-klə-ˈnā-shən How to pronounce inclination (audio)
: a tendency to a particular aspect, state, character, or action
the clutch has an inclination to slip
: a deviation from the true vertical or horizontal : slant
also : the degree of such deviation
: an inclined surface : slope
: the angle determined by two lines or planes
: the angle made by a line with the x-axis measured counterclockwise from the positive direction of that axis
: an act or the action of bending or inclining: such as
: bow, nod
: a tilting of something
: a particular disposition of mind or character : propensity
especially : liking
had little inclination for housekeeping
obsolete : natural disposition : character
inclinational adjective

Example Sentences

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.
Recent Examples on the Web Instead, those with the time and inclination may try to have their information removed from individual campaign contact lists. Alex Ford, NBC News, 26 Jan. 2023 Go for the Grab Bag option, which is great for neighbors, or any group that doesn't have the time or inclination to go through an elaborate gift-giving ritual. Jill Gleeson, Country Living, 28 Nov. 2022 My inclination at that point was to say OK, no problem, good luck, your loss, call over. San Diego Union-Tribune, 2 Jan. 2023 Your inclination to have strong boundaries and protect your time is a good one. Roxane Gay, New York Times, 14 Dec. 2022 My natural inclination is to just keep working, but more often than not the real solution is a good night’s sleep. Diana Budds, Curbed, 15 Aug. 2022 An inclination to hold on to items is completely normal, and most of us have some sort of a relationship with our stuff, says psychologist and object attachment expert Keong Yap, DPsych of Australian Catholic University. Sydney Baker, Good Housekeeping, 5 Nov. 2022 Converging biomedicine and technology means swifter and more accurate treatment plan decisions, alleviating physicians' overwhelm and inclination for burnout. Dr. Ali Tinazli, Forbes, 29 Dec. 2022 Sequel to that opinion, it should also be noted that indiscriminate intake of BHB keto pills is a bad inclination. Amber Smith, Discover Magazine, 15 Dec. 2022 See More

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.

Word History

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 4b

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

Dictionary Entries Near inclination

Cite this Entry

“Inclination.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 Feb. 2023.

Kids Definition


in·​cli·​na·​tion ˌin-klə-ˈnā-shən How to pronounce inclination (audio)
: a feeling of liking or of wanting to do something
an inclination for sleeping late
: an act or the action of bending or tilting
: a departure from the true vertical or horizontal : slant
the inclination of the earth's axis
also : the amount of such departure
: an inclined surface : slope
: a quality which leads to some state or action
the door has an inclination to stick
-shnəl How to pronounce inclination (audio)

Medical Definition


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