Build your vocabulary with Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day! Each day a Merriam-Webster editor offers insight into a fascinating new word -- explaining its meaning, current use, and little-known details about its origin.
March 23rd, 2016
Episode 482 of 900 episodes
Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for March 23, 2016 is: propensity \pruh-PENN-suh-tee\ noun : an often intense natural inclination or preference Examples: His propensity to speak his mind makes some of his colleagues wary. "In fact, Welch's propensity for forming partnerships along with her enthusiasm for the alliance's mission is what caught the attention of the search committee, says Anthony Crutcher, immediate past president of the alliance board." — Susan Pierce, The Chattanooga Times Free-Press, 22 Feb. 2016 Did you know? When it comes to synonyms of propensity, the letter "p" predominates. Proclivity, preference, penchant, and predilection all share with propensity the essential meaning of "a strong instinct or liking." Not every word that is similar in meaning to propensity begins with "p," however. Propensity comes from Latin propensus, the past participle of propendēre, a verb meaning "to incline" or "to hang forward or down." Thus leaning and inclination are as good synonyms of propensity as any of those "p"-words.