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

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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
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Recent Examples on the Web 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 But there is little doubt his predilection has turned out better for the strongmen than for America. The Economist, "The strange love-in between Donald Trump and Recep Tayyip Erdogan," 14 Nov. 2019 Objectivists insist that their predilections are derived from a highly logical, uncompromising framework. Alexander Sammon, The New Republic, "The Last of the Ayn Rand Acolytes," 14 Aug. 2019 Stressed in PA Dear Stressed in PA: Your husband’s predilection for pornography is no reflection on you. Annie Lane, oregonlive, "Dear Annie: Husband’s penchant for porn feels like betrayal and belittlement," 23 Mar. 2020 His filmmaking predilections in this, his fourth feature-length project, present themselves in the opening minutes. Michael Phillips,, "‘Werewolf Ninja Philosopher’ review: When your private eye’s extra-hairy, and someone’s killing the indie filmmakers in New York," 18 July 2019 Others appear to have an unfortunate predilection for making ominous remarks that portend the novel’s conclusion. Deepa Anappara, New York Times, "His Nation in Turmoil, One Boy Finds Refuge and Adventure in Friendship," 17 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.

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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

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Time Traveler for predilection

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The first known use of predilection was in 1742

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Last Updated

19 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Predilection.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 May. 2020.

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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

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