propensity

noun
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

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Synonyms for propensity

Synonyms

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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 Is there anything in particular behind the propensity for comebacks? Matthew Defranks, Dallas News, "How have the Stars become captains of the comeback? It’s all in the numbers," 22 Jan. 2020 Throughout his time on the lam, Robinson's propensity for frequenting drug stores and dressing in women's clothing would be his undoing. Dawn Mitchell, Indianapolis Star, "The bizarre story of a kidnapped Louisville heiress held captive in Indianapolis," 20 Dec. 2019 Social media has supercharged the propensity to regard one’s personal identity as a potential source of profit—and, especially for young women, to regard one’s body this way, too. Jia Tolentino, The New Yorker, "The Age of Instagram Face," 12 Dec. 2019 At the same time, though, this articulation of power was masked by The Discourse’s nimble propensity for making Twitter itself seem like a more streamlined, appealing commodity. Nathaniel Friedman, The New Republic, "Moments Without Truth," 21 Oct. 2019 As income declines, so does the propensity to turn out at the ballot box. The Economist, "RacePoverty in America continues to affect people of colour most," 26 Sep. 2019 For those that have the same propensity as Mr. Gould for a cloudy day, the weather through this coming weekend is going to be very disappointing. courant.com, "Sunny skies, high temps on the way," 19 Sep. 2019 Sure, wireless ear buds are freeing — but with that freedom comes the propensity to lose them. Megan Cerullo, CBS News, "People love AirPods so much they spend more than half a billion a year replacing them," 6 Sep. 2019 Which, considering the apparent propensity for racist abuse within the club's fanbase, doesn't make for great reading. SI.com, "90min's Definitive European Player Power Rankings: Week 3," 27 Aug. 2019

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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Time Traveler for propensity

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The first known use of propensity was in 1570

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Statistics for propensity

Last Updated

22 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Propensity.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/propensity. Accessed 28 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for propensity

propensity

noun
How to pronounce propensity (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of propensity

formal : a strong natural tendency to do something

propensity

noun
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.

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Comments on propensity

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