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 Despite his proclivity for rebounding, took Murray until his 187th game to record his first NBA triple-double. Jeff Mcdonald, San Antonio Express-News, "Dejounte Murray blossoming into Spurs' triple-double king," 30 Apr. 2021 Lammers’ father, Chris, was a defensive end at Texas A&M, and his proclivity for causing havoc for offensive players passed down to Ben — just in a different sport. Zach Mason, San Antonio Express-News, "Alamo Heights standout Ben Lammers finding a home with EuroLeague," 6 Apr. 2021 Gaetz also made known to his fellow lawmakers his proclivity for younger women, even dating a college student -- who was over the age of consent -- in 2018, the Daily Beast reported this week. Marisa Schultz, Fox News, "Orgy, underage girls, sex games and extortion: Inside the allegations surrounding Rep. Matt Gaetz," 4 Apr. 2021 As the January transfer window drew to a close, his West Ham side had agreed on a deal to sign Jesse Lingard on loan from Manchester United, and Moyes was keen to stave off the Premier League’s proclivity for rushing to judgment. New York Times, "Jesse Lingard and Tricks of the Light," 26 Mar. 2021 Although the details in Balan’s case are unique, Musk’s proclivity to launch personal attacks on critics is not. Russ Mitchell Staff Writer, Los Angeles Times, "Tesla called her a criminal. Her fight could be a milestone for employees’ rights," 8 Dec. 2020 However, given Moutinho’s proclivity toward injury — which resulted in early exits from all three of his professional seasons — Pareja isn’t rushing the defender back into play. Julia Poe,, "Orlando City coach Oscar Pareja prepared to build on 2020 success," 2 Mar. 2021 Our proclivity to weirdness has a history that predates Covid-19. Allison Hope; Illustration By Leanza Abucayan, CNN, "Are we getting weirder? Perhaps we're simply becoming ourselves," 31 Jan. 2021 Affleck, a master in character studies, has a proclivity for improvising within a script, an inclination that can trip up both directors and other actors. Leslie Cardé,, "'Our Friend' tells true story of a friendship in the face of a devastating cancer diagnosis," 27 Jan. 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

7 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Proclivity.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for proclivity



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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