ten·​den·​tious | \ ten-ˈden(t)-shəs How to pronounce tendentious (audio) \

Definition of tendentious

: marked by a tendency in favor of a particular point of view : biased

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Other Words from tendentious

tendentiously adverb
tendentiousness noun

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Tendentious is one of several words English speakers can choose when they want to suggest that someone has made up his or her mind in advance. You may be partial to predisposed or prone to favor partisan, but whatever your leanings, we're inclined to think you'll benefit from adding tendentious to your repertoire. A derivative of the Medieval Latin word tendentia, meaning "tendency," plus the English suffix -ious, tendentious has been used in English as an adjective for biased attitudes since at least 1900.

Examples of tendentious in a Sentence

He made some extremely tendentious remarks.
Recent Examples on the Web By declining to present an argument, and relying instead on factual-sounding statements, the Morgans concealed a tendentious purpose. William Hogeland, The New Republic, "Against the Consensus Approach to History," 25 Jan. 2021 Only in the 1990s did revisionist scholarship reveal this portrait to be tendentious almost to the point of fraudulence. Kwame Anthony Appiah, The New York Review of Books, "The Prophet of Maximum Productivity," 5 Jan. 2021 The New York Post ran a tendentious story about how the Nixons were living lavishly from a slush fund sustained by wealthy donors. Barton Swaim, WSJ, "Politics: The Presidential Pen," 30 Oct. 2020 Over the course of the Nineties, under presidents Akbar Rafsanjani and then Mohammad Khatami, only distant echoes of the tendentious ideology of the previous decade were heard. Amir Ahmadi Arian, The New York Review of Books, "The Martyrdom of Soleimani in the Propaganda Art of Iran," 30 Sep. 2020 Földényi, a scholar and critic who teaches the theory of art, in Budapest, is an intense, tendentious, often maddening presence. James Wood, The New Yorker, "The Scholar Starting Brawls with the Enlightenment," 25 May 2020 Electing Bernie Sanders would be almost indistinguishable from putting the late radical historian Howard Zinn, or the America-loathing linguist Noam Chomsky, or the tendentious left-wing filmmaker Michael Moore in charge of American foreign policy. Rich Lowry, National Review, "Is America Ready for President Noam Chomsky?," 25 Feb. 2020 Lacking any substantive defense, Trump and his allies will probably rely on slander, diversions, and a tendentious reading of the partial transcript of Trump’s July 25th call with Zelensky. John Cassidy, The New Yorker, "What Can We Expect from Televised Impeachment Hearings?," 30 Oct. 2019 Limbaugh's remarks were the latest tendentious turn in a career in which he's won an adoring audience among millions of conservative listeners, but condemnation from others for comments considered racist, sexist and offensive. CBS News, "Bipartisan senators disagree with Rush Limbaugh's remarks on Buttigieg's election prospects," 14 Feb. 2020

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

1874, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for tendentious

tendenti- (taken as Latinate stem of tendency) + -ous, probably after German tendeziös

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Time Traveler for tendentious

Time Traveler

The first known use of tendentious was in 1874

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Last Updated

8 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Tendentious.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tendentious. Accessed 2 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for tendentious



English Language Learners Definition of tendentious

formal + disapproving : strongly favoring a particular point of view in a way that may cause argument : expressing a strong opinion

More from Merriam-Webster on tendentious

Nglish: Translation of tendentious for Spanish Speakers

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