: a strong and continued inclination; broadly : liking
Susan's penchant for mathematics helped her to become a successful electrical engineer.
"She had a penchant for helping others and became a lifelong volunteer, particularly after her retirement." -- From an obituary in The Burlington Free Press, June 2, 2011
Did You Know?
Like its synonyms "leaning," "propensity," and "proclivity," "penchant" implies a strong instinct or liking for something. But these four words, while similar, are also distinguished by subtle differences. "Leaning" usually suggests a liking or attraction not strong enough to be decisive or uncontrollable ("a student with artistic leanings"), whereas "propensity" tends to imply a deeply ingrained and usually irresistible inclination ("a propensity to offer advice"). "Proclivity" frequently suggests a strong, natural proneness to something objectionable or evil ("a proclivity for violence"). "Penchant," a descendant of Latin "pendere" ("to weigh"), typically implies a strongly marked taste in the person or an irresistible attraction in the object ("a penchant for taking risks").
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Word Family Quiz
What relative of "penchant" means "musingly or dreamily thoughtful" or "suggestive of sad thoughtfulness"? The answer is ...