Definition of propensity in US English:


nounPlural propensities

  • An inclination or natural tendency to behave in a particular way.

    ‘a propensity for violence’
    with infinitive ‘their innate propensity to attack one another’
    • ‘Their propensity for misalignment and poor passing was only exceeded by their ability to kick good ball away.’
    • ‘Now with the increased propensity of sloth in my lifestyle, I am getting out of shape.’
    • ‘It is better to look for those tulips with a natural propensity for repeat performance.’
    • ‘For the majority of young people, a propensity to blush is a natural, if embarrassing, aspect of adolescence.’
    • ‘This leads to an adverse impact on the propensity to save and the domestic accumulation of capital.’
    • ‘Every advance in knowledge has to be earned by a painful struggle against our spontaneous propensity for ignorance.’
    • ‘The main problem here is the propensity of the land to flood, and Edinburgh council are still debating the best solutions.’
    • ‘It's not particularly attractive or impressive and it has the propensity to fall over when it gets too tall for its pot.’
    • ‘Others find her propensity for tacky glamour and ostentatious lack of decent clothing a little too much to bear.’
    • ‘That propensity to be overwhelmed by external stimuli also means she is unable to drive.’
    • ‘Given my propensities and proclivities, I do not know how, in this symbolic sense, I could have spent the inception of the millennium in a more meaningful way.’
    • ‘Those that succeed do so with grace and with what seems to be a natural propensity to invent.’
    • ‘I was not always a good person, and there's a part of everyone that has a propensity to do bad.’
    • ‘In the battle for customers, a propensity to boast loudly and publicly about rate cuts is not always matched by a desire to cut profits.’
    • ‘On the other side of the coin, restrictive policies bring about an inhibiting econo-socio-political environment, which restrains the blossoming of a society's natural propensities.’
    • ‘If this were any other job, and we were looking these men's resumes, we would want to know what skills and propensities and types of character they had displayed in these formative years of their lives.’
    • ‘He doesn't suffer fools gladly and has a propensity for telling the truth.’
    • ‘Towards the end of his reign he showed an increasing propensity for paranoia.’
    • ‘The government has long since given up trying to reduce the propensity to commit crime.’
    • ‘But the hardy little device was now safe from his propensity to overwork it and from my hysteria.’
    tendency, inclination, predisposition, proneness, proclivity, readiness, susceptibility, liability, disposition
    View synonyms


Late 16th century: from archaic propense (from Latin propensus ‘inclined’, past participle of propendere, from pro- ‘forward, down’ + pendere ‘hang’) + -ity.