tendency

noun
ten·​den·​cy | \ ˈten-dən(t)-sē How to pronounce tendency (audio) \
plural tendencies

Definition of tendency

1a : a proneness to a particular kind of thought or action
b : direction or approach toward a place, object, effect, or limit
2a : the purposeful trend of something written or said : aim
b : deliberate but indirect advocacy

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Synonyms for tendency

Synonyms

aptness, proneness, propensity, way

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Choose the Right Synonym for tendency

tendency, trend, drift, tenor, current mean movement in a particular direction. tendency implies an inclination sometimes amounting to an impelling force. a general tendency toward inflation trend applies to the general direction maintained by a winding or irregular course. the long-term trend of the stock market is upward drift may apply to a tendency determined by external forces the drift of the population away from large cities or it may apply to an underlying or obscure trend of meaning or discourse. got the drift of her argument tenor stresses a clearly perceptible direction and a continuous, undeviating course. the tenor of the times current implies a clearly defined but not necessarily unalterable course. an encounter that changed the current of my life

Examples of tendency in a Sentence

The economy has shown a general tendency toward inflation. a tendency to drop things

Recent Examples on the Web

Given the staggering complexity of the problem and the tendency of politics to oversimplify, the breadth of positions was commendable. Wired, "CNN's Town Hall Made Climate Change Personal—and It Worked," 5 Sep. 2019 Ann Gibson, 74-year-old retiree from suburban Charlotte, said Trump's focus on the first-year Democratic women is part of a larger tendency of constantly looking for enemies. Lisa Mascaro, Detroit Free Press, "GOP shifts focus to Rep. Rashida Tlaib, House Dem 'squad' in campaign attacks," 31 Aug. 2019 The presence of an ice shelf normally checks the tendency of ice at the top of the ice sheet’s saucer to flow down glaciers into the sea. The Economist, "Climate change is a remorseless threat to the world’s coasts," 17 Aug. 2019 This refers to the tendency of little things that have to be done right now to get in the way of what really matters. Dr. Travis Bradberry, Quartz at Work, "Nine skills you should learn that pay off forever," 13 Aug. 2019 The systematic looting of language can be recognized by the tendency of its users to forgo its nuanced, complex, mid-wifery properties for menace and subjugation. Ellen Mcgirt, Fortune, "Missing Toni Morrison: raceAhead," 6 Aug. 2019 In addition to primary prevention, an evolutionary understanding can help make therapies for existing cancers more effective by reducing the nasty tendency of such cells to develop drug resistance. Robert Gatenby, Scientific American, "Darwin’s Ideas on Evolution Drive a Radical New Approach to Cancer Drug Use," 3 Aug. 2019 The Democratic argument, which descends from Jackson, is premised on the existence of a class divide between workers and owners of capital, and especially on the alleged tendency of the latter to enrich themselves at the expense of the former. Jay Cost, National Review, "How Republicans Can Appeal to the White Working Class," 25 July 2019 For those who criticize the anthropomorphic tendencies of dog people, there is some forgiveness in order. Anchorage Daily News, "What do you do with bird dogs in the off-season? Love them, play with them, get to know them.," 9 July 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'tendency.' 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 tendency

1628, in the meaning defined at sense 1b

History and Etymology for tendency

borrowed from Medieval Latin tendentia, noun derivative of Latin tendent-, tendens, present participle of tendere "to extend outward, stretch, spread out, direct (one's course), aim (at a purpose)" (Medieval Latin, "to lead toward, move in a particular direction") — more at tender entry 3

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Statistics for tendency

Last Updated

9 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for tendency

The first known use of tendency was in 1628

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More Definitions for tendency

tendency

noun

English Language Learners Definition of tendency

: a quality that makes something likely to happen or that makes someone likely to think or behave in a particular way
: a way of behaving, proceeding, etc., that is developing and becoming more common

tendency

noun
ten·​den·​cy | \ ˈten-dən-sē How to pronounce tendency (audio) \
plural tendencies

Kids Definition of tendency

1 : a leaning toward a particular kind of thought or action Elizabeth had a tendency to worry about things like not having permission.— Zilpha Keatley Snyder, The Egypt Game
2 : a way of doing something that is becoming more common : trend

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More from Merriam-Webster on tendency

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for tendency

Spanish Central: Translation of tendency

Nglish: Translation of tendency for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of tendency for Arabic Speakers

Comments on tendency

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