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

Synonyms for tendency

Synonyms

aptness, proneness, propensity, way

Visit the Thesaurus 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

This movie is protective mama bear tendencies, cranked up to 11. Cady Drell, Marie Claire, "The Best Sci Fi Movies of 2018 That Starred Women," 28 Nov. 2018 But the seventh-year Seahawk also compiles a report complete with ideas, play calls, formations, tendencies, etc., and distributes them to Seattle’s coaching staff and his fellow signal-callers. Mike Vorel, The Seattle Times, "What’s unique about Seahawks QB Russell Wilson’s preparation? It starts with his weekly print-outs.," 14 Nov. 2018 What’s more, scores on each of the dimensions of the dark triad were positively correlated with one another: People with a tendency toward narcissism are also more likely to demonstrate Machiavellianism and psychopathy, and vice versa. Glenn Geher, WSJ, "The Dark Triad and the Evolution of Jerks," 6 Dec. 2018 Driveways, walkways, and other areas with a tendency to collect ice are good candidates, too, but mind the runoff. Lee Hutchinson, Ars Technica, "The Internet-demanded, partially scientific testing of Ultra-Ever Dry (in HD!)," 4 July 2018 First discovered in 1799, the invasive species was the bane of seamen everywhere because of their tendency to devour wood. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "The Gribble Worm Could Hold Secrets for Cheaper Renewable Energy," 5 Dec. 2018 Also, my tendency is really to overshare about my personal life. Cady Drell, Marie Claire, "Sadie Dupuis Is Proof That Poetry Never Went Away," 8 Nov. 2018 American Business Center, Berlin, Germany, 1997 Here is Johnson, on a site of deep historic significance, mixing his postmodern and deconstructivist tendencies into a single bloated building. Mark Lamster, Curbed, "Arbiter of taste, enfant terrible: The best and worst of Philip Johnson," 6 Nov. 2018 The up-and-down relationship between Japanese investors and U.S. REITs partly reflects the tendency of Japanese investors to move in and out of U.S. real estate in sudden bursts. Kosaku Narioka, WSJ, "Why Pressure in Japan Is Undercutting Shares of U.S. Real-Estate Companies," 30 Oct. 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

14 Jan 2019

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

tremendous in size, volume, or degree

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Homophone Quiz

  • three-bears-two-of-them-look-like-theyre-whispering-to-a-third-bear-who-looks-chuffed-to-be-the-center-of-attention
  • In order to judge how people felt, the senator's office hired a firm to take a ______.
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

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!