pen·​chant | \ ˈpen-chənt How to pronounce penchant (audio) , especially British ˈpäⁿ-ˌshäⁿ \

Definition of penchant

: a strong and continued inclination broadly : liking

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Choose the Right Synonym for penchant

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

What is the Difference Between penchant, leaning, propensity, And proclivity?

Like its synonyms "leaning," "propensity," and "proclivity," "penchant" implies a strong instinct or liking for something. But these four words, while similar, are also distinguished by subtle differences. "Leaning" usually suggests a liking or attraction not strong enough to be decisive or uncontrollable ("a student with artistic leanings"), whereas "propensity" tends to imply a deeply ingrained and usually irresistible inclination ("a propensity to offer advice"). "Proclivity" frequently suggests a strong, natural proneness to something objectionable or evil ("a proclivity for violence"). "Penchant," a descendant of Latin pendere ("to weigh"), typically implies a strongly marked taste in the person or an irresistible attraction in the object ("a penchant for taking risks").

Examples of penchant in a Sentence

Aside from the Catholic penchant for fish on Fridays, there is also the tradition of eating red beans and rice on Monday … — Tom Piazza, Why New Orleans Matters, 2005 Whether manifested in feminine decor or in an approach to teaching that assumes a female penchant for cooperative, or "connected," learning, stereotypical notions of femininity often infect institutions for women and girls. — Wendy Kaminer, Atlantic, April 1998 From both her father and mother she had inherited a penchant for art, literature, philosophy, and music. Already at eighteen she was dreaming of painting, singing, writing poetry, writing books, acting—anything and everything. — Theodore Dreiser, The Titan, 1914 a penchant for sitting by the window and staring moodily off into space
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Recent Examples on the Web There’s more to Noemí than her expensive clothes and penchant for Gauloises cigarettes. Carol Memmott, Washington Post, "‘Mexican Gothic’ is a creepy, intoxicating mystery that’s almost impossible to put down," 30 June 2020 Michigan amounts to a one-state case study on how Mr. Trump’s impulsiveness, inattention to detail and penchant for personal insults have eroded his political standing and diminished his chances to win re-election. Jonathan Martin, New York Times, "Our 2020 Election Guide," 31 May 2020 Bolton’s book also reportedly sheds some light on how Trump’s penchant for amorality affects American foreign relations. Matt Ford, The New Republic, "John Bolton: American Coward," 18 June 2020 At home, my mom bought regular jugs of liquid orange juice, so what was my grandmother’s penchant for preparing her own? Kaitlyn Yarborough, Southern Living, "Why Southern Grandmothers Always Made Orange Juice From Frozen Store-Bought Concentrate," 17 June 2020 Amid a decade-long crackdown on Swiss banking secrecy, the country is now luring people with a penchant for gold., "Warehouse owner to put solar systems on its roofs," 16 June 2020 Players tuned him out because of his penchant for screaming. Chris Fedor, cleveland, "J.B. Bickerstaff is bright spot of Cleveland Cavaliers’ rebuild -- and he came at the perfect time: Chris Fedor," 16 June 2020 Dorvil got his penchant for hard work from his parents, who were born in Haiti and moved to the United States speaking no English. Allie Morris, Dallas News, "Dallas serial entrepreneur offers advice on understanding and overcoming adversity," 14 June 2020 Oak and walnut animal figurines, products of Stith's penchant for woodworking, stand on a bookshelf in their room: a duck, horse, bear, pig, rabbit. Enquirer Staff,, "The pandemic's toll is real. Here are a few of those we've lost.," 11 June 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'penchant.' 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 penchant

1672, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for penchant

French, from present participle of pencher to incline, from Vulgar Latin *pendicare, from Latin pendere to weigh

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Time Traveler for penchant

Time Traveler

The first known use of penchant was in 1672

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Last Updated

3 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Penchant.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for penchant


How to pronounce penchant (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of penchant

: a strong liking for something or a strong tendency to behave in a certain way

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