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

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 Do not mistake Hardison’s proclivity toward ease and comfort for monotony, though. Davey Adésida; Styling By Haidee Findlay-levin, Harper's BAZAAR, 3 Nov. 2021 One area a veteran A&M team will look to exploit is Colorado’s apparent proclivity for penalties. Casey Stavenhagen, Dallas News, 8 Sep. 2021 But at the same time, the sometimes-rickety tree stands, rusted fastenings and the hunters’ proclivity for falling asleep in the stand create potentially dangerous situations that occasionally result in injury and even death. Frank Sargeant, al, 17 Nov. 2021 The published accounts of the teammates’ growing disunity suggest the problem lay in OBJ’s proclivity during actual games to depart from the passing routes diagrammed during practice. Don Yaeger, Forbes, 10 Nov. 2021 His body is stolen by a bunch of horror fans whose proclivity for the genre extends to owning props and a total disregard for corpses. Gem Seddon, Vulture, 29 Oct. 2021 But like Ronald Reagan, who often told some whoppers, Biden seems to have the kind of Teflon protective coating that Trump's proclivity for making misleading statements never earned. Star Tribune, 24 Apr. 2021 Suddenly, Joe realized his proclivity for protecting women extended to his unborn daughter. Glenn Garner,, 14 Oct. 2021 The couple are especially fond of the cozy woodsy tones, which many people might paint over to suit today's proclivity for white trim. Eddie Ross, Better Homes & Gardens, 11 Oct. 2021

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

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The first known use of proclivity was in 1561

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Last Updated

19 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Proclivity.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for proclivity



English Language Learners Definition of proclivity

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

More from Merriam-Webster on proclivity

Nglish: Translation of proclivity for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of proclivity for Arabic Speakers


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