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from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Movement or prevailing movement in a given direction: observed the tendency of the wind; the shoreward tendency of the current.
  • n. A characteristic likelihood: fabric that has a tendency to wrinkle.
  • n. A predisposition to think, act, behave, or proceed in a particular way.
  • n. An implicit direction or purpose: not openly liberal, but that is the tendency of the book.
  • n. An implicit point of view in written or spoken matter; a bias.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. a likelihood of behaving in a particular way or going in a particular direction; a tending toward.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Direction or course toward any place, object, effect, or result; drift; causal or efficient influence to bring about an effect or result.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Movement, or inclination to move, in some particular direction or toward some end or purpose; bent, leaning, or inclination toward some object, effect, or result; inclining or contributing influence.
  • n. Synonyms Propensity, Inclination, etc. (see bent), drift, direction, bearing.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a characteristic likelihood of or natural disposition toward a certain condition or character or effect
  • n. an inclination to do something
  • n. a general direction in which something tends to move
  • n. an attitude of mind especially one that favors one alternative over others


Medieval Latin tendentia, from Latin tendēns, tendent-, present participle of tendere, to tend; see tend1.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Ultimately from the Latin tendere / tendō. (Wiktionary)


  • Your expression, "and tends to depart in a slight degree," I think hardly grammatical; a _tendency_ to depart cannot very well be said to be in a slight degree; a _departure_ can, but a tendency must be either a _slight tendency_ or a _strong tendency_; the degree to which the departure may reach must depend on favourable or unfavourable causes in addition to the tendency itself.

    Alfred Russel Wallace: Letters and Reminiscences, Vol. 1

  • Mr. LaHood, in turn, has been criticized by some senior FAA officials for what they described as a tendency to micromanage FAA decisions.

    FAA Chief's Arrest Leaves Agency in Limbo

  • Your tendency is then to play a little safer, and that's not the way to play this game. ''

  • Another tendency is the internationalization of the family, with branches of the same clan living in the United States and Canada, and establishing business operations with Nafta coverage.

    Family Affair

  • We need not go far to find how deeply rooted this tendency is and to what exaggerations it will sometimes lead.

    The Book of The Thousand Nights And A Night

  • Such a tendency is also revealed in Figure 1, where the yen became stronger against the dollar over the period, while the price level in the U.S. rose in relation to the

    The Prize in Economics 2003 - Information for the Public

  • An International Monetary Fund official Friday struck back at what he called a tendency in Malawi to scapegoat the IMF and the donor community for problems which are of the country's own making.

    ANC Daily News Briefing

  • He warned about what he described as the tendency of many countries to live beyond the level of development of their economies, and he called on the


  • I regret to say that at the present time the tendency is a trifle different.

    Free Enterprise

  • Some or other tendency is always discernible, in verse as much as in prose, even if it does no more than determine the form and the choice of imagery.

    Inside the Whale


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