pre·​di·​lec·​tion | \ ˌpre-də-ˈlek-shən How to pronounce predilection (audio) , ˌprē- \

Definition of predilection

: 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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Predilection Has a Versatile Latin Root

Do you have a predilection for words whose histories conjure up colorful images of Wild West heroes, medieval knaves, Arabian princes, and intemperate gods, or are words with straightforward Latin roots more your style? If you favor the latter, you'll love "predilection." It's based on the Latin verb legere, which means "to gather" or "to read." That versatile root is also the source of many other familiar English words, including "collect," "lesson," "sacrilege," and "legume."

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
See More
Recent Examples on the Web Mr Dylan’s impressive knowledge of American music history collides with his predilection for miscellany. The Economist, "The gruff voice of a generation If you want to understand Bob Dylan’s music, listen to his radio show," 19 June 2020 And that is all before the coronavirus reared its ugly head, which, as I am given to understand, has a predilection for the aged and infirm. Michael Taylor,, "Liberty Bar owner in the age of coronavirus: ‘I feel like the tail struggling to wag the dog’," 12 June 2020 Smallpox’s inevitability combined with its predilection for children caused many to believe the disease was a kind of original sin. Cody Cassidy, Wired, "Who Discovered the First Vaccine?," 8 June 2020 Hitchcock shares with Hopper a predilection for jarring relations of backgrounds to foregrounds in pictorial space: perhaps someone or something relatively innocuous is nearby and something less calming is yonder. Peter Schjeldahl, The New Yorker, "Edward Hopper and American Solitude," 1 June 2020 Eiders, because of their predilection for cold environments, have what is generally considered the best down. Joseph Albanese, Outdoor Life, "4 Off-Season Waterfowl Projects that Will Improve Your Decoy Spread (and Your Home)," 26 May 2020 This disease has a predilection for people who have chronic health problems. John Archibald |, al, "Black people made to feel dispensable in right-to-life land," 3 May 2020 The prime minister has what one person close to him, who declined to be identified discussing internal government debates, described to me as an optimism bias, a Ronald Reagan–esque predilection for sunny uplands and better tomorrows. Tom Mctague, The Atlantic, "The Risks of Boris Johnson’s Relentless Optimism," 27 Apr. 2020 In a day packed with pageantry for the American president -- who’s made no secret of his predilection for large crowds and impressive displays -- Trump was greeted on the tarmac by India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Justin Sink,, "Trump Met by Modi’s Promised Pageantry On Arrival in India," 24 Mar. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'predilection.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of predilection

1742, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for predilection

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about predilection

Time Traveler for predilection

Time Traveler

The first known use of predilection was in 1742

See more words from the same year

Listen to Our Podcast about predilection

Statistics for predilection

Last Updated

2 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Predilection.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Jul. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for predilection


How to pronounce predilection (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of predilection

formal : a natural liking for something : a tendency to do or to be attracted to something

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on predilection

What made you want to look up predilection? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

A More Exception(al) Quiz

  • hot dog  hot dog  hot dog  hot dog cat
  • Which of the following words is not a synonym for ‘a young person’?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!