pre·​di·​lec·​tion ˌpre-də-ˈlek-shən How to pronounce predilection (audio)
: an established preference for something
a predilection for spicy food
… a wonderfully spunky heroine with a smart mouth, a bad attitude and a predilection for trouble. [=a tendency to get into trouble]Publishers Weekly

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Predilection Has a Versatile Latin Root

Predilection comes from French prédilection and Latin praediligere, meaning "to love more" or "to prefer." In Latin, diligere means "to love."

Choose the Right Synonym for predilection

predilection, prepossession, prejudice, bias mean an attitude of mind that predisposes one to favor something.

predilection implies a strong liking deriving from one's temperament or experience.

a predilection for travel

prepossession suggests a fixed conception likely to preclude objective judgment of anything counter to it.

a prepossession against technology

prejudice usually implies an unfavorable prepossession and connotes a feeling rooted in suspicion, fear, or intolerance.

a mindless prejudice against the unfamiliar

bias implies an unreasoned and unfair distortion of judgment in favor of or against a person or thing.

a strong bias toward the plaintiff

Examples of predilection in a Sentence

The predilection of certain upper-class Englishmen toward eccentricity and playacting lent itself well to this endeavor. Robert D. Kaplan, The Arabists, 1993
Even seated in the witness chair, he did not remove the light-colored, belted raincoat that, in common with knee-high boots, is a predilection of the Nazi-minded and that, in his case, was nearly identical to the raincoat Hitler habitually wore. Kay Boyle, "Preface from the Smoking …," 1950, in Words that Must Somehow be Said: Selected Essays of Kay Boyle 1927–19841985
The marine sergeants are generally tall fellows with unyielding spines and stiff upper lips, and very exclusive in their tastes and predilections. Herman Melville, White Jacket, 1850
a young lad with a predilection for telling tall tales
Recent Examples on the Web Despite their 16-year age difference, the DB shares something else with the legendary QB — a predilection towards perfection. Anna Lazarus Caplan, Peoplemag, 7 Sep. 2023 Then there is Wilson’s phalarope, an unusual shorebird that often lives inland, despite a predilection for salt water. Emily Anthes, New York Times, 29 Aug. 2023 Officials have said that his family knew nothing of his predilections and were gobsmacked by the allegations. Rebecca Rosenberg, Fox News, 1 Aug. 2023 That’s because, however specific Jamie’s predilection, there’s something universal in his crisis. Peter Debruge, Variety, 22 July 2023 His predilection for health misinformation is widely established, and his claims have been widely debunked, including publicly by his own brother, sister and niece. Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times, 29 June 2023 His predilections tend toward neutral palettes; natural materials like leather, linen, and wicker; and objects made by hand. ELLE Decor, 17 May 2023 In comparison, Berry is generally viewed as beyond the pale, his predilections distinctly un-wild, un-chic, un-romantic. Matthew Gavin Frank, Harper's Magazine, 4 May 2023 However, her blunt and literal communication style, sensory issues and predilection for blurting inconvenient truths — and facts about cetaceans — also make fitting in at work a challenge for her. Karla L. Miller, Washington Post, 13 Apr. 2023 See More

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

Word History


French prédilection, from Medieval Latin praediligere to love more, prefer, from Latin prae- + diligere to love — more at diligent

First Known Use

1742, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of predilection was in 1742


Dictionary Entries Near predilection

Cite this Entry

“Predilection.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


pre·​di·​lec·​tion ˌpred-ᵊl-ˈek-shən How to pronounce predilection (audio)
: a natural liking for something
a predilection for adventure stories

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