noun pro·pen·si·ty \ prə-ˈpen(t)-sə-tē \
|Updated on: 9 Aug 2018

Definition of propensity

plural propensities
: an often intense natural inclination or preference

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Examples of propensity in a Sentence

  1. Other researches are exploring how the adolescent propensity for uninhibited risk taking propels teens to experiment with drugs and alcohol. —Claudia WallisTime10 May 2004
  2. On the other hand, a jury might be convinced that a meth dealer who had brazenly fired a pistol through his door had a propensity for violence. —John CloudTime14 July 2003
  3. A central tenet of this camp's proponents is that a considerable number of biological dispositions evolved during the Stone Age, including a male propensity for making war. —Bruce BowerScience News27 Jan. 2001
  4. He had a propensity for crime.

  5. the criminal propensities of the family extended over several generations

Recent Examples of propensity from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'propensity.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

You'll Like the Etymology of propensity

When it comes to synonyms of propensity, the letter "p" predominates. Proclivity, preference, penchant, and predilection all share with propensity the essential meaning of "a strong instinct or liking." Not every word that is similar in meaning to propensity begins with "p," however. Propensity comes from Latin propensus, the past participle of propendēre, a verb meaning "to incline" or "to hang forward or down." Thus leaning and inclination are as good synonyms of propensity as any of those "p"-words.

Origin and Etymology of propensity

Synonym Discussion of propensity

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

PROPENSITY Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of propensity for English Language Learners

  • : a strong natural tendency to do something

PROPENSITY Defined for Kids


noun pro·pen·si·ty \ prə-ˈpen-sə-tē \

Definition of propensity for Students

: a natural tendency to do or favor something
  • They have a propensity to chatter.

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