Meaning of “tendency” in the English Dictionary

british dictionary

"tendency" in British English

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tendencynoun [ C ]

uk /ˈten.dən.si/ us /ˈten.dən.si/

C1 If someone has a tendency to do or like something, they will probably do it or like it:

[ + to infinitive ] His tendency to exaggerate is well known.

If there is a tendency for something to happen, it is likely to happen or it often happens:

There is a tendency for unemployment to rise in the summer.

If there is a tendency to do something, it starts to happen more often or starts to increase:

[ + to infinitive ] There is a growing tendency to regard money more highly than quality of life.

More examples

  • He complained that there was a tendency to equate right-wing politics with self-interest.
  • There is a tendency in films to make the equation between violence and excitement.
  • Apparently some people have an inborn tendency to develop certain kinds of tumour.
  • She's one of those authors who has a tendency to overwrite.
  • Our best intentions are sometimes subverted by our natural tendency to selfishness.

(Definition of “tendency” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"tendency" in American English

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tendencynoun [ C ]

us /ˈten·dən·si/

a likelihood to happen or to have a particular characteristic or effect:

She has a tendency to work late.
There’s a growing tendency to try kids as adults.

(Definition of “tendency” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)