in·​cli·​na·​tion | \ ˌin-klə-ˈnā-shən How to pronounce inclination (audio) , ˌiŋ- \

Definition of inclination

1 : a tendency to a particular aspect, state, character, or action the clutch has an inclination to slip
2a : a deviation from the true vertical or horizontal : slant also : the degree of such deviation
b : an inclined surface : slope
c(1) : the angle determined by two lines or planes
(2) : the angle made by a line with the x-axis measured counterclockwise from the positive direction of that axis
3 : an act or the action of bending or inclining: such as
a : bow, nod
b : a tilting of something
4a : a particular disposition of mind or character : propensity especially : liking had little inclination for housekeeping
b obsolete : natural disposition : character

Other Words from inclination

inclinational \ ˌin-​klə-​ˈnā-​shnəl How to pronounce inclination (audio) , -​shə-​nᵊl , ˌiŋ-​ \ adjective

Examples of inclination in a Sentence

She shows no inclination to give in to their demands. He's a loner by inclination. My first inclination was to say no, but I finally decided to do what she asked. I have neither the time nor the inclination to learn about such matters.
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Recent Examples on the Web So, the inclination was to get more balls in the air. Evan Grant, Dallas News, 2 Sep. 2021 Political institutions can help direct and mitigate the effects of this natural human inclination to selfishness. Christopher Beem, Quartz, 10 Aug. 2021 Given how much music both men produce – Lil Durk has dropped four projects in the past 13 months, while Lil Baby is a bit more selective – the inclination may be to bop The Voice of the Heroes for a week or two and move on to the next thing. Mosi Reeves, Rolling Stone, 9 June 2021 The inclination to be financially transparent is an extension of the way young adults conduct the rest of their lives, says David Axelrod, a behavioral economist at Montclair State University in New Jersey. Svati Kirsten Narula, WSJ, 3 May 2021 However, spending will be moderated by the inclination of higher-income households to save most of their financial windfalls, and a hesitancy by many Americans to abruptly come out of their COVID shells. Paul Davidson, USA TODAY, 29 Mar. 2021 The landowners did not have the inclination, money, or expertise to transform their acreage into dusky-gopher-frog habitat, and a critical-habitat designation gives landowners no incentive to do so. Tate Watkins, National Review, 29 Oct. 2021 An inclination towards using teamwork to solve a customer’s problem, rather than having to go it alone. Micah Solomon, Forbes, 30 Sep. 2021 This self-centeredness mirrors what every generational divide truly amounts to: a hubristic inclination to trust oneself (and one’s own age group) over anyone else. Shirley Li, The Atlantic, 30 Aug. 2021

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

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 4b

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Time Traveler for inclination

Time Traveler

The first known use of inclination was in the 14th century

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Dictionary Entries Near inclination



inclination of an orbit

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Last Updated

22 Nov 2021

Cite this Entry

“Inclination.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Dec. 2021.

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More Definitions for inclination



English Language Learners Definition of inclination

: a feeling of wanting to do something : a tendency to do something
: a slanting surface : slope
: the act of bending your head or body forward : the act of inclining your head or body


in·​cli·​na·​tion | \ ˌin-klə-ˈnā-shən How to pronounce inclination (audio) \

Kids Definition of inclination

1 : an act or the action of bending or leaning
2 : a usually favorable feeling toward something His inclination was to walk rather than drive.
3 : slant entry 2, tilt a steep inclination


in·​cli·​na·​tion | \ ˌin-klə-ˈnā-shən, ˌiŋ- How to pronounce inclination (audio) \

Medical Definition of inclination

: a deviation from the true vertical or horizontal especially : the deviation of the long axis of a tooth or of the slope of a cusp from the vertical

More from Merriam-Webster on inclination

Nglish: Translation of inclination for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of inclination for Arabic Speakers


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