pro·​pen·​si·​ty | \ prə-ˈpen(t)-sə-tē How to pronounce propensity (audio) \
plural propensities

Definition of propensity

: an often intense natural inclination or preference

Synonyms for propensity


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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
Recent Examples on the Web What's so controversial, given Farmer's status as a fan favorite and his propensity to come through in the clutch? Dave Clark, The Enquirer, 26 July 2022 Why Oscar Tshiebwe thinks Jacob Toppin has been the Wildcats' best player this summer Onyenso's speed, however, is what takes his game to the next level, especially considering his propensity to wreak havoc on the defensive end. The Courier-Journal, 21 July 2022 Theresa Wilkey, a home health aide, voted for her ward’s council member, Trayon White, for mayor, noting his propensity to rush to the scene of violent incidents in the ward. Michael Brice-saddler, Washington Post, 18 June 2022 Feuer and Buscaino have already shown a propensity for going after Caruso. Julia Wick, Los Angeles Times, 22 Mar. 2022 However, the company has shown some propensity for growth as, essentially, a startup on the public stage. - Investing Reimagined, Forbes, 27 May 2021 But the Cavs play hard, have shown a propensity for player development and have compiled a good young core. Chris Fedor, cleveland, 5 May 2021 Vassell has also shown a propensity for blocks and steals and had two of the former against the Suns. Jeff Mcdonald, San Antonio Express-News, 18 Apr. 2021 Within a few years, Tammaro’s propensity to stalk women and not take no for an answer landed him back in prison. Kevin Cullen,, 19 July 2022 See More

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.

First Known Use of propensity

1570, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for propensity

borrowed from New Latin prōpensitāt-, prōpensitās, from Latin prōpensus "weighted down, inclined, having a disposition or tendency" + -itāt-, -itās -ity — more at propense

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The first known use of propensity was in 1570

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Last Updated

7 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Propensity.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for propensity


pro·​pen·​si·​ty | \ prə-ˈpen-sə-tē How to pronounce propensity (audio) \

Kids Definition of propensity

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

More from Merriam-Webster on propensity

Nglish: Translation of propensity for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of propensity for Arabic Speakers


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