verb pre·dis·pose \ ˌprē-di-ˈspōz \
|Updated on: 30 Jul 2018

Definition of predispose

predisposed; predisposing; predisposes
1 : to dispose in advance
  • a good teacher predisposes children to learn
2 : to make susceptible
  • malnutrition predisposes one to disease
: to bring about susceptibility


play \ˌprē-ˌdi-spə-ˈzi-shən\ noun

Examples of predispose in a Sentence

  1. Past experiences have predisposed her to distrust people.

Recent Examples of predispose from the Web

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.

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.

First Known Use of predispose


in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

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Synonym Discussion of 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?

PREDISPOSE Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of predispose for English Language Learners

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

Medical Dictionary


verb pre·dis·pose \ ˌprēd-is-ˈpōz \

medical Definition of predispose

predisposed; predisposing
: to make susceptible
  • malnutrition predisposes one to disease
: to bring about susceptibility
  • conditions that predispose to infection

Law Dictionary


transitive verb pre·dis·pose \ ˌprē-di-ˈspōz \

legal Definition of predispose

predisposed; predisposing
: 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.


play \ˌprē-ˌdis-pə-ˈzi-shən\ noun

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excessive admiration or flattery

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