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 inclination (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 Authoritarians who forged ties with Trump are accustomed to calling the shots directly, and liked his inclination to do the same., "Strongmen who got cozy with Trump get the cold shoulder from Biden," 5 May 2021 Even if my inclination would be, hey, include a paragraph that explains the history and puts it in context, that probably wouldn’t fly. Bill Addison, Los Angeles Times, "This cookbook finally restores ‘fusion’ cuisine to a place of dignity," 1 May 2021 Your natural inclination may be to assume that refrigerated food is fresher and therefore healthier for your cat. Lauren Levine Corriher, Southern Living, "8 Must-Know Tips About Your Cat’s Feeding Routine," 29 Apr. 2021 Populists can have an inclination towards rejecting institutional checks and balances. Nathaniel Parish Flannery, Forbes, "Is President Lopez Obrador Destroying Mexico?," 19 Apr. 2021 In the silent-movie era Redmond’s disability, coupled with his artistic inclination, worked to his advantage. New York Times, "Overlooked No More: Granville Redmond, Painter, Actor, Friend," 8 Apr. 2021 Under normal circumstances, some of these people would have no inclination to enter one of these stores. Jacob Silverman, The New Republic, "Vaccines are Free at CVS and Walgreens. You’re What’s for Sale.," 3 Mar. 2021 Monica speaks up and says Wanda doesn’t have an inclination to destruction or a political agenda and is therefore not a terrorist. Abraham Riesman, Vulture, "WandaVision Recap: I Want Your Hex," 5 Feb. 2021 Last October, former President Donald Trump's administration was also reportedly of the inclination that the group was not supportive of Israel and considered labeling it antisemitic, according to a report from Politico. Kaelan Deese, Washington Examiner, "Human Rights Watch accuses Israel of 'apartheid' against Palestinians," 27 Apr. 2021

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

14 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Inclination.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 May. 2021.

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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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