lean·​ing ˈlē-niŋ How to pronounce leaning (audio)
: a definite but not decisive attraction or tendency
often used in plural
radical leanings
Choose the Right Synonym for leaning

leaning, propensity, proclivity, penchant mean a strong instinct or liking for something.

leaning suggests a liking or attraction not strong enough to be decisive or uncontrollable.

a student with artistic leanings

propensity implies a deeply ingrained and usually irresistible inclination.

a propensity to offer advice

proclivity suggests a strong natural proneness usually to something objectionable or evil.

a proclivity for violence

penchant implies a strongly marked taste in the person or an irresistible attraction in the object.

a penchant for taking risks

Examples of leaning in a Sentence

the news media are often accused of having liberal leanings despite what his athletic leanings might suggest, he was actually a very lazy kid
Recent Examples on the Web Today, debate about NPR’s political leanings after an explosive essay by a former editor was published in The Free Press. Ariel Shapiro, The Verge, 11 Apr. 2024 Other data points in Michigan used to infer a voter's partisan leaning are less reliable. Detroit Free Press, 15 Feb. 2024 Regardless of one’s party affiliation or political leanings, achieving even laudable short-term political victories by denigrating or corrupting government institutions or ignoring the principles which have served us well for so long is a little like curing the disease by killing the patient. Chris Roemer, Baltimore Sun, 21 Jan. 2024 Not long afterward, armed Wide Awakes in St. Louis captured all 800 members of a Democratic militia who were accused of Confederate leanings, and fired on the crowd around them, killing 30 people. Jon Grinspan, Smithsonian Magazine, 1 Apr. 2024 That's the finding from a 2023 Pew survey, which reported those sentiments were shared among the majority of people surveyed, regardless of their political leanings. Journal Sentinel, 6 Mar. 2024 The company is understood to be working on close to a dozen new projects, many with a significant female leaning, some flowing from Manning’s pen, others in partnership arrangements. Patrick Frater, Variety, 20 Mar. 2024 Antoine Samuel Predock was born on June 24, 1936, in Lebanon, Mo., where his father was an engineer and his mother a schoolteacher with artistic leanings. Fred A. Bernstein, New York Times, 5 Mar. 2024 His allies are talking about using the powers of the presidency to root out members of the military who do not show sufficient MAGA leanings. Peter D. Feaver, Foreign Affairs, 19 Feb. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'leaning.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of leaning was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near leaning

Cite this Entry

“Leaning.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/leaning. Accessed 25 Apr. 2024.

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