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

The Party machinery renounced the Yugoslav youth and their bourgeois tendencies, as did the institutions of the state, and the youth got its young asses kicked both rhetorically and actually. Aleksandar Hemon, The New Yorker, "My Mother and the Failed Experiment of Yugoslavia," 5 June 2019 Of all its destructive tendencies, Trumpism’s most destructive is misunderstanding the world and its economic relations as a zero-sum game. Kevin D. Williamson, National Review, "Invest in the Neighborhood," 4 June 2019 My affinity for dipping sauces and my tendency to fix a plate like a painter’s palette with a dollop of every sauce available earned me the nickname of Condiment Queen in college. Elissa Sanci, Woman's Day, "I Ate Like Queen Elizabeth For a Week, and It Was a Royal Pain," 18 Apr. 2019 Plus, if Dany doesn't get her tendencies toward tyranny in check (RIP Randyll and Dickon Tarly), there will be far greater issues to address than the lack of a welcoming committee at Winterfell. Julie Kosin, Harper's BAZAAR, "The Game of Thrones Rivalry Between Sansa & Daenerys Is Gendered and Regressive," 16 Apr. 2019 President Trump’s declaration of a national emergency is a perfect example of his tendency to pitch himself into unnecessary conflicts, drawing attention away from his successes. Ari Fleischer, WSJ, "Declare Victory, Not Emergency," 28 Feb. 2019 These comments are indicative of the societal tendency to police women's clothing, a practice that serves not only to oversexualize women but also feeds into dangerous, sexist ideas about victim-blaming and -shaming. Andrea Park, Allure, "Kim Kardashian Is Being Mom-Shamed by Some Assholes on Instagram for Letting North Wear a Bikini," 30 Aug. 2018 Jess is smart, easily bored, floundering in physics, and possessed of a tendency, alternately irritating and salutary, to push people to their limits and beyond. Julia M. Klein, Philly.com, "'Sing the Body Electric' at Theatre Exile: Comedy, pathos - and lightning strikes," 26 Apr. 2018 In a 2017 interview with W Magazine, Oxman used Pitt and George Clooney as examples of the human tendency to idolize male icons. Ale Russian, PEOPLE.com, "Brad Pitt Visited His 'Genius and Gorgeous' New Friend Professor Neri Oxman at MIT Last Fall," 9 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.

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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

17 Jun 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

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