Definition of propensity
: an often intense natural inclination or preference
propensity was our Word of the Day on 03/23/2016. Hear the podcast!
Theme music by Joshua Stamper ©2006 New Jerusalem Music/ASCAP
Examples of propensity in a Sentence
Other researches are exploring how the adolescent propensity for uninhibited risk taking propels teens to experiment with drugs and alcohol. —Claudia Wallis, Time, 10 May 2004
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 Cloud, Time, 14 July 2003
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 Bower, Science News, 27 Jan. 2001
He had a propensity for crime.
the criminal propensities of the family extended over several generations
Recent Examples of propensity from the Web
The defense’s plan to tell the jury about Peak’s extensive criminal background and a propensity to flee from cops.
The conference even reportedly extended OU an invitation to join in 2010 according to school president David Boren though that should be taken with a grain of salt given the former Oklahoma governor's propensity to grab headlines.
A lefty seven-footer with deep three-point range and a propensity for dunking in traffic.
Happy days unclear again: Kay Redfield Jamison delves into the human propensity for melancholy, this time with one human in particular.
However, Marston’s feminist message was undercut somewhat by his propensity to depict Wonder Woman tied up with ropes or chains.
Even as a kid, Mitchell’s long arms and propensity for steals turned heads.
Robert Hughes captures ancient Rome in rich detail, with revelations such as Emperor Augustus’ propensity for commissioning sculptures of himself (with some 25,000 to 50,000 stone statues estimated to have been produced).
Marsh bass also have a propensity to school up, probably due to the tidal movement that sweeps bait to them in certain areas.
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.
Synonym Discussion of propensity
PROPENSITY Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of propensity for English Language Learners
: a strong natural tendency to do something
PROPENSITY Defined for Kids
Definition of propensity for Students
: a natural tendency to do or favor something They have a propensity to chatter.
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up propensity? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).