tendency

noun
ten·den·cy | \ ˈten-dən(t)-sē \
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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Some lawmakers have also been looking for ways to curb Mr. Trump’s protectionist tendencies, which go against the Republican Party’s embrace of free trade. New York Times, "Trump May Soften Sweeping Plan to Restrict Chinese Investments," 26 June 2018 Critics have reacted with alarm to Erdogan’s victory, saying the results usher in what will effectively be one-man rule, putting someone with increasingly autocratic and intolerant tendencies at the helm of a strategically significant NATO country. Elena Becatoros, The Seattle Times, "What’s next for Turkey after vote grants Erdogan vast powers," 25 June 2018 Critics have reacted with alarm to Erdogan's victory, saying the results usher in what will effectively be one-man rule, putting someone with increasingly autocratic and intolerant tendencies at the helm of a strategically significant NATO country. Elena Becatoros, Fox News, "What's next for Turkey after vote grants Erdogan vast powers," 25 June 2018 The Magic have brought in Trae Young and interviewed Michael Porter, but neither player appears to be a perfect fit with their infrastructure and draft tendencies. Jeremy Woo, SI.com, "2018 NBA Draft: Needs for All 30 Teams," 15 June 2018 This book is fun for anyone with pyromaniacal tendencies. Bill Heavey, WSJ, "Summer Books: Camping," 23 May 2018 Populists there are trying to form a coalition government with euro-skeptic tendencies and spending promises of as much as 126 billion euros ($147 billion) a year. Alessandro Speciale, Bloomberg.com, "ECB Prepares for Italy Standoff With Populists on Brink of Power," 23 May 2018 Not to mention, seeing calorie counts on menus could inadvertently trigger people with disordered eating tendencies. refinery29.com, "Restaurants Are Now Required By Law To List Calorie Counts — Can We Handle It?," 10 May 2018 Campbell has promised an up-tempo spread scheme -- albeit with run-heavy tendencies -- on offense, along with an attacking style on defense. Creg Stephenson, AL.com, "5 things to look for in South Alabama's Red-Blue spring game on Saturday," 13 Apr. 2018

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.

See More

First Known Use of tendency

1628, in the meaning defined at sense 1b

History and Etymology for tendency

Medieval Latin tendentia, from Latin tendent-, tendens, present participle of tendere

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about tendency

Statistics for tendency

Last Updated

23 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for tendency

The first known use of tendency was in 1628

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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 \
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

Keep scrolling for more

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

What made you want to look up tendency? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

occurring twice a year or every two years

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Food Quiz

Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!