Definition of tendency
1a : a proneness to a particular kind of thought or actionb : direction or approach toward a place, object, effect, or limit
2a : the purposeful trend of something written or said : aimb : deliberate but indirect advocacy
Examples of tendency in a Sentence
The economy has shown a general tendency toward inflation.
a tendency to drop things
Recent Examples of tendency from the Web
The Portland, Oregon band was more enthusiastic than accomplished and had a regrettable tendency toward hand claps.
The designer has a tendency to weave in and out of the couture world—
What’s the chance that mental abilities and behavioral tendencies were completely unaffected by all these processes?
Chrissy is a trend-setter in the vein of Regina George, but without the sociopathic tendencies.
At the hospital the Archie officer began exhibiting strange behavior and violent tendencies.
Fourth, judging from legislative roll-call data since 1985, Republicans in Congress have been considerably less likely than Democrats to follow their constituents’ policy preferences — a tendency that has grown over time.
In the 1880s, the social reformer Charles Booth produced a moral map of London, with houses color-coded by income and—in Booth’s shaky calculations—criminal tendencies.
Housing values have a tendency to decline after years of positive growth.
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.
Origin and Etymology of tendency
Medieval Latin tendentia, from Latin tendent-, tendens, present participle of tendere
First Known Use: 1628See Words from the same year
Synonym Discussion of tendency
TENDENCY Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of tendency for English Language Learners
: 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 Defined for Kids
Definition of tendency for Students
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
Seen and Heard
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