Definition of tendency in English:



  • 1often with infinitive An inclination towards a particular characteristic or type of behaviour.

    ‘for students, there is a tendency to socialize in the evenings’
    ‘criminal tendencies’
    • ‘Tendencies towards autocracy seem embedded in the country's political culture.’
    • ‘Young children have a tendency to put just about anything in their mouths.’
    • ‘There was a growing tendency among city dwellers to install power showers instead of baths.’
    • ‘I have a bad tendency to move on to the new cool project and leave other projects behind.’
    • ‘He showed suicidal tendencies.’
    • ‘He has a tendency to be ruthless when he has tired of a girlfriend.’
    • ‘His tendency to spend was a problem from the start.’
    • ‘If we have to keep this going, we will have to control the tendency to burst out laughing.’
    • ‘We are a country with very real isolationist tendencies.’
    • ‘A dreary trait of actors is their tendency to gush about the great privilege it was to work with each other.’
    • ‘Our libertarian tendency supports the free flow of information.’
    • ‘He attacked the tendency for rights to outweigh citizens' sense of responsibility.’
    • ‘I have a tendency to scratch vigorously behind my right knee when distracted.’
    • ‘Life has an inherent tendency to be novel and spontaneously creative.’
    • ‘My hair has a tendency to frizz up and stick out over my ears.’
    • ‘Heavy drinkers can show violent tendencies and personal relationships may suffer as a result.’
    • ‘Research has shown that we have a tendency to eat more when it is darker.’
    • ‘The human race has a pervasive tendency towards religious conviction.’
    • ‘She does have a tendency to get involved if she sees a fight.’
    • ‘You are pessimistic and have a tendency to behave negatively.’
    propensity, proclivity, proneness, aptness, likelihood, inclination, disposition, predisposition, bent, leaning, penchant, predilection, susceptibility, liability
    trend, movement, drift, swing, gravitation
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A group within a larger political party or movement.
      • ‘Each of the tendencies aims at a different sector of the political spectrum.’
      • ‘The Bolshevik Party always had rightist, compromising tendencies and ultra-left tendencies.’
      • ‘That inner war between rival tendencies is expressed in labour movements.’
      • ‘Numerous left tendencies advanced this theory.’
      • ‘He acted with extreme brutality against separatist tendencies in the Caucasus.’
      • ‘Other tendencies or parties will prevail and hold the movement back.’
      • ‘Speakers from these tendencies sharply attacked the planned collaboration with him.’
      • ‘All of these tendencies had their impact on the political orientation of the Fourth International.’
      • ‘Tito and his Communist regime acted sternly to suppress nationalist tendencies.’
      • ‘These political tendencies are expected to register gains in the coming election.’
      • ‘Their union had right-wing tendencies and had clashed with larger left-wing unions.’
      • ‘The wavering on the part of these tendencies explains the sharp turns undertaken by certain politicians.’
      • ‘I think it would be a stunningly bad idea to give in to the threats of the anarchist tendency.’
      • ‘Two political tendencies emerged during this period of rampant anti-Semitism.’


Early 17th century: from medieval Latin tendentia, from tendere ‘to stretch’ (see tend).