pro·​cliv·​i·​ty | \ prō-ˈkli-və-tē How to pronounce proclivity (audio) \
plural proclivities

Definition of proclivity

: an inclination or predisposition toward something especially : a strong inherent inclination toward something objectionable

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Choose the Right Synonym for proclivity

leaning, propensity, proclivity, penchant mean a strong instinct or liking for something. leaning suggests a liking or attraction not strong enough to be decisive or uncontrollable. a student with artistic leanings propensity implies a deeply ingrained and usually irresistible inclination. a propensity to offer advice proclivity suggests a strong natural proneness usually to something objectionable or evil. a proclivity for violence penchant implies a strongly marked taste in the person or an irresistible attraction in the object. a penchant for taking risks

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Have you always had this leaning toward wanting to know about words and their etymologies? Maybe you even have a propensity to use the featured word several times in the course of the day—due, of course, not to a proclivity for pretentiousness, but because you simply have a penchant for using a rich vocabulary. And perhaps you have a predilection for using lots of synonyms, such as proclivity (from clivus, the Latin word for "slope"), referring to a tendency usually toward something bad; propensity, suggesting an often uncontrollable inclination; penchant, meaning an irresistible attraction; and predilection, which describes a strong liking derived from one's temperament.

Examples of proclivity in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The key difference seems to be proclivity for one-handed use. Samuel Axon, Ars Technica, "iPhone SE review: Small screen, huge performance," 29 Apr. 2020 Onyx’s proclivities run from funk to free jazz; their centering obsession is Manhattan. Jon Pareles, New York Times, "The Rolling Stones Still Miss You, and 13 More New Songs," 24 Apr. 2020 There’s also a darker side of Lionheart that describes life in physical pain and the mind’s proclivity for hopelessness and pity. Dave Brooks, Billboard, "David Francisco Comes Back From the Abyss Stronger in Excellent Memoir 'Lionheart'," 2 Feb. 2020 Despite yet another impressive rebounding performance, the UAB basketball team’s proclivity for turnovers ended the bid to extend a five-game winning streak to open the Conference USA schedule. Evan Dudley, al, "UAB drops C-USA opener to Charlotte," 2 Jan. 2020 Both virus species thus present an ongoing challenge due to their diversity and their proclivity for jumping hosts. Quanta Magazine, "The Animal Origins of Coronavirus and Flu," 25 Feb. 2020 Rennie has shown a proclivity for starting three central midfielders, which bodes well for everyone at the position. Kevin Johnston, Indianapolis Star, "Indy Eleven’s Cam Lindley, Andrew Carleton in same career stage yet totally different places," 9 Mar. 2020 At a time when politics is more about muscles and money, Bisoyi’s proclivity to her roots stands out in stark contrast. Pragati Prava, Quartz India, "An Odisha village woman’s journey from protecting peacocks to the Indian parliament," 26 Jan. 2020 As history never fails to remind us, the academy has a proclivity for keeping Hollywood guessing. Lauren Valenti, Vogue, "Who Will Win Best Hair and Makeup at the Oscars 2020? The Past Has Some Clues," 15 Jan. 2020

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

1561, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for proclivity

Latin proclivitas, from proclivis sloping, prone, from pro- forward + clivus slope — more at pro-, declivity

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Time Traveler for proclivity

Time Traveler

The first known use of proclivity was in 1561

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Last Updated

16 May 2020

Cite this Entry

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

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More Definitions for proclivity


How to pronounce proclivity (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of proclivity

formal : a strong natural liking for something that is usually bad : a tendency to do something that is usually bad

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