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From propense (inclined, disposed) +‎ -ity, the former from Latin prōpensus, perfect passive participle of prōpendeō.


  • IPA(key): /pɹəˈpɛnsɪti/
  • (file)


propensity (countable and uncountable, plural propensities)

  1. An inclination, disposition, tendency, preference, or attraction.
    He has a propensity for lengthy discussions of certain favorite topics.
    • 1831, L[etitia] E[lizabeth] L[andon], “The Last Chapter”, in Romance and Reality. [], volume III, London: Henry Colburn and Richard Bentley, [], →OCLC, page 326:
      I must own they do dearly delight in a judgment; and sorry am I that I cannot gratify this laudable propensity by specifying some peculiar evil incurred by Mr. Delawarr's ambition, or Lady Etheringhame's vanity.
    • 1902, William James, The Varieties of Religious Experience, Lecture I:
      To the psychologist the religious propensities of man must be at least as interesting as any other of the facts pertaining to his mental constitution. It would seem, therefore, that, as a psychologist, the natural thing for me would be to invite you to a descriptive survey of those religious propensities.
    • 1988, Douglas Adams, The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul, William Heinemann Ltd, page 29:
      He had a tremendous propensity for getting lost when driving.
    • 2013 May-June, Katie L. Burke, “In the News”, in American Scientist, volume 101, number 3, page 193:
      Bats host many high-profile viruses that can infect humans, including severe acute respiratory syndrome and Ebola. A recent study explored the ecological variables that may contribute to bats’ propensity to harbor such zoonotic diseases by comparing them with another order of common reservoir hosts: rodents.


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