predispose

verb
pre·​dis·​pose | \ ˌprē-di-ˈspōz How to pronounce predispose (audio) \
predisposed; predisposing; predisposes

Definition of predispose

transitive verb

1 : to dispose in advance a good teacher predisposes children to learn
2 : to make susceptible malnutrition predisposes one to disease

intransitive verb

: to bring about susceptibility

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Other Words from predispose

predisposition \ ˌprē-​ˌdi-​spə-​ˈzi-​shən How to pronounce predispose (audio) \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for predispose

incline, bias, dispose, predispose mean to influence one to have or take an attitude toward something. incline implies a tendency to favor one of two or more actions or conclusions. I incline to agree bias suggests a settled and predictable leaning in one direction and connotes unfair prejudice. the experience biased him against foreigners dispose suggests an affecting of one's mood or temper so as to incline one toward something. her nature disposes her to trust others predispose implies the operation of a disposing influence well in advance of the opportunity to manifest itself. does fictional violence predispose them to accept real violence?

What is the difference between disposition and predisposition?

What exactly is someone's disposition? And is it different from a predisposition? A person's disposition is his or her usual mood or attitude. Are you typically pretty happy? You could be described as having a happy—or cheerful, or sunny—disposition. Animals have dispositions too; a dog with a nervous disposition doesn't easily relax into a restful pup curled up at someone’s feet. In this use, disposition is a synonym of temperament; both words refer to the complex set of attitudes and inclinations that guide behavior.

Disposition can also mean "tendency" or "inclination," and in such cases it has a surprising synonym: predisposition. A disposition to exaggerate is the same as a predisposition to exaggerate. A disposition toward humility is likewise the same thing as a predisposition toward humility. The fact of being "in advance" that the prefix pre- implies hardly matters when tendency and inclination are concerned, since both concern what is likely to happen in the future.

While phrases like "a disposition to cooperate" are about as common as "a predisposition to cooperate," when the context is medical, predisposition is far more common. Phrases like "a genetic predisposition to nearsightedness" appear much more frequently in published, edited text than similar phrases employing disposition.

Did You Know?

Predispose usually means putting someone in a frame of mind to be willing to do something. So a longtime belief in the essential goodness of people, for example, will predispose us to trust a stranger. Teachers know that coming from a stable family generally predisposes children to learn. And viewing television violence for years may leave young people with a predisposition to accept real violence as normal. The medical sense of the word is similar. Thus, a person's genes may predispose her to diabetes or arthritis, and malnutrition over a long period can predispose you to all kinds of infections.

Examples of predispose in a Sentence

Past experiences have predisposed her to distrust people.
Recent Examples on the Web Younger people appear more susceptible than older ones, but researchers say no pre-existing health conditions are known to predispose people to the rare reaction. New York Times, "Blood Clots Linked to AstraZeneca Vaccine Stem From Rare Antibody Reaction," 9 Apr. 2021 Blumberg now specializes in studying how chemicals in the environment can affect our genes and predispose people to obesity,which affects about 42% of Americans today. Los Angeles Times, "DDT’s toxic legacy can harm granddaughters of women exposed, study shows," 14 Apr. 2021 However, the evidence is mounting that certain medicines, those with anticholinergic properties, may indeed predispose people to dementia. Dr. Keith Roach, oregonlive, "Dear Doctor: Will this surgery help the pinched nerve in my neck?," 29 Mar. 2021 Data from Norway—whose extensive health registries make this type of research easier—suggests previous COVID-19 infection does not predispose vaccinees to a severe reaction, Watle says. Kai Kupferschmidt, Science | AAAS, "A rare clotting disorder may cloud the world's hopes for AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine," 27 Mar. 2021 For all his expertise, Chen still has no idea why some patients get better and others don’t, or whether there are risk factors that predispose someone to Long COVID. Jamie Ducharme, Time, "A Year Into the Pandemic, Long COVID Is Still Burdening Patients—and Their Caregivers," 15 Mar. 2021 In the Johnson & Johnson trial, just over a fifth of participants were 65 years of age or older, and 40 percent had at least one comorbidity that could predispose to severe disease. Monica Gandhi, Wired, "All of the Covid-19 Vaccines Are Equally Worthy of Your Arm," 5 Mar. 2021 Doctors are uncertain which factors predispose children to the syndrome. New York Times, "Covid-Linked Syndrome in Children Is Growing and Cases Are More Severe," 16 Feb. 2021 Second, his emotional fragility, manifested in extreme intolerance of realities that do not fit his wishful view of the world, predispose him to psychotic spirals. Tanya Lewis, Scientific American, "The ‘Shared Psychosis’ of Donald Trump and His Loyalists," 11 Jan. 2021

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

1646, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

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Time Traveler for predispose

Time Traveler

The first known use of predispose was in 1646

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Last Updated

5 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Predispose.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/predispose. Accessed 11 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for predispose

predispose

verb

English Language Learners Definition of predispose

formal : to cause (someone) to be more likely to behave in a particular way or to be affected by a particular condition

predispose

verb
pre·​dis·​pose | \ ˌprēd-is-ˈpōz How to pronounce predispose (audio) \
predisposed; predisposing

Medical Definition of predispose

transitive verb

: to make susceptible malnutrition predisposes one to disease

intransitive verb

: to bring about susceptibility conditions that predispose to infection

predispose

transitive verb
pre·​dis·​pose | \ ˌprē-di-ˈspōz How to pronounce predispose (audio) \
predisposed; predisposing

Legal Definition of predispose

: to dispose or incline in advance specifically : to make ready and willing to commit a crime have been predisposed to engage in criminal behavior — W. R. LaFave and J. H. Israel

Note: Predisposition on the part of a defendant vitiates the defense of entrapment.

Other Words from predispose

predisposition \ ˌprē-​ˌdis-​pə-​ˈzi-​shən How to pronounce predispose (audio) \ noun

Comments on predispose

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