propensity

noun
pro·​pen·​si·​ty | \ prə-ˈpen(t)-sə-tē \
plural propensities

Definition of propensity

: an often intense natural inclination or preference

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Synonyms for propensity

Synonyms

aptness, proneness, tendency, way

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Choose the Right Synonym for 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

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.

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
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Recent Examples on the Web

Many of these were introduced to get around the Bradford’s poor branch structure and propensity to break. Adrian Higgins, The Seattle Times, "Scientists thought they had created the perfect tree. But it became a nightmare.," 17 Sep. 2018 Under the gaze of Dr. Smith’s cameras, nature revealed propensities and potentials undreamt of on Earth in what had been thought of as the frozen silent depths of time. Dennis Overbye, BostonGlobe.com, "Bradford Smith, 86, dies; showed postcards from outer space," 13 July 2018 One reason so many Democrats go missing on polling day is that propensity to vote increases with income, and many would-be Democrats are poor. The Economist, "Demography is not destinyBuilding a multiracial coalition is more difficult than it seems," 12 July 2018 Under the gaze of Dr. Smith’s cameras, nature revealed propensities and potentials undreamt of on Earth in what had been thought of as the frozen silent depths of time. Dennis Overbye, New York Times, "Bradford Smith, Who Showed Postcards From Outer Space, Dies at 86," 11 July 2018 Kevin Garnett's intensity and propensity for running his mouth on the court were trademarks of his NBA career that includes one MVP award and an NBA championship. Jason Jones, sacbee, "Harry Giles isn't trying to act like Kevin Garnett. He just can't help it, he says," 10 July 2018 Perhaps, part of that wisdom is to recognize some of life's baffling paradoxes such as the way human beings have a huge propensity for good, and yet a capacity for evil. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "Queen Elizabeth's Christmas Message Reflects on the Royal Family's 'Busy Year'," 25 Dec. 2018 Sadly, the mentor mentee relationship is starting to wear thin on Anderson, who resents Keith’s propensity to teach him about crab fishing rather than just sharing information with him. Tyler Mccarthy, Fox News, "'Deadliest Catch' Season 14, Episode 3 recap: There's no trust among captains on the Bering Sea," 24 Apr. 2018 There may be other factors involved in your propensity for developing altitude sickness. Carolyn L. Todd, SELF, "What Exactly Is Altitude Sickness?," 20 Dec. 2018

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.

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First Known Use of propensity

1570, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for propensity

see propense

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Last Updated

8 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for propensity

The first known use of propensity was in 1570

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More Definitions for propensity

propensity

noun

English Language Learners Definition of propensity

formal : a strong natural tendency to do something

propensity

noun
pro·​pen·​si·​ty | \ prə-ˈpen-sə-tē \

Kids Definition of propensity

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

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Comments on propensity

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