tendency

tendency, trend, drift, tenor can mean a movement or course having a particular direction and character or the direction and character which such a movement or course takes.
Tendency usually implies an inherent or acquired inclination in a person or thing that causes him or it to move in a definite direction so long as no one or nothing interferes. Often, when used in reference to persons, the word means little more than leaning, propensity, or disposition
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a growing tendency to disastrously under-estimate the potential strength of the United States— Shirer

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he worked to destroy the tendency to dreams in himself— Anderson

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More often, especially when used in reference to groups or communities or their activities or the course or direction they take with or without consciousness or intent, the term implies a driving force behind the direction or course taken and an insusceptibility to its being controlled or changed
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gave the King a policy at once plausible and insidious, temporizing and yet thick with tendencyHackett

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the whole tendency of evolution is towards a diminishing birthrate— Ellis

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the tendencies which Lycurgus had endeavored to repress by external regulation reasserted themselves— Dickinson

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Trend is used primarily in reference to something that follows an irregular or winding course and denotes the general direction maintained in spite of these irregularities
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jagged ranges of mountains with a north and south trend

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In its extended use trend may differ from tendency in implying a direction subject to change through the interposition of a sufficiently strong force or agency, in implying a course taken at a given time by something subject to change and fluctuation, or in implying the general direction followed by a changing or fluctuating thing throughout its entire course or within given limits of space or of time
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the current trends toward intolerance and the garrison state— Mowrer

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Aristotle, the most balanced of all the Greek thinkers and the best exponent of the normal trend of their ideas— Dickinson

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Drift may apply to a tendency whose direction or course is determined by such external influences as a wind or the movement of flowing water or a fashion or a state of feeling
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the drift of public opinion went steadily against him— Parrington

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stoutly opposed the drift toward national prohibition and equal suffrage— Sam Acheson

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but it may apply also to the direction or course taken by something (as speech, writing, or teaching) that has a meaning, a purpose, or an objective which is not definitely stated or made clear but which is inferable; in this sense the word is scarcely distinguishable from intention, purport, or import
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for the drift of the Maker is dark, an Isis hid by a veil— Tennyson

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write it down . . . and then maybe I can get the drift of it— Stafford

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I see the whole drift of your argument— Goldsmith

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Tenor is a very close synonym of drift in this latter sense but it more often refers to utterances or documents and carries a much stronger implication of clearness of meaning or purport
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the general tenor ... of the talks— Bernard Smith

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Both in this sense and in its more common sense of a course or movement having a particular clearly observable direction tenor carries a strong implication of continuity in that course and of absence of fluctuation in its direction; therefore it frequently suggests unaltered, often unalterable, procedure
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along the cool sequestered vale of life they kept the noiseless tenor of their way— Gray

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the village . . . was . . . away from the main road and the tenor of its simple agricultural economy had not been disturbed— lengar

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even a foible is forgiven so long as it ruffles not the calm tenor of respectability— Gogarty

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Analogous words: *leaning, propensity, penchant, proclivity: inclination, disposition, predisposition (see corresponding verbs at INCLINE): bent, turn, genius, aptitude (see GIFT)

New Dictionary of Synonyms. 2014.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Tendency — Tend en*cy, n.; pl. {Tendencies}. [L. tendents, entis, p. pr. of tendere: cf. F. tendance. See {Tend} to move.] Direction or course toward any place, object, effect, or result; drift; causal or efficient influence to bring about an effect or… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • tendency — [ten′dən sē] n. pl. tendencies [ML tendentia < L tendens, prp. of tendere, to TEND2] 1. an inclination to move or act in a particular direction or way; constant disposition to some action or state; leaning; bias; propensity; bent 2. a course… …   English World dictionary

  • tendency — [n1] inclination to think or do in a certain way addiction, affection, bent*, bias, current, custom, disposition, drift, habit, impulse, inclining, leaning, liability, mind, mindset*, partiality, penchant, predilection, predisposition, proclivity …   New thesaurus

  • tendency — I noun aptitude, aptness, bearing, bent, bias, character, direction, disposition, facility, gift, gravitation, idiosyncrasy, inclinatio, inclination, instinct, leaning, natural disposition, nature, partiality, penchant, predisposition, prejudice …   Law dictionary

  • tendency — 1620s, from M.L. tendentia inclination, leaning, from L. tendens, prp. of tendere to stretch, aim (see TENET (Cf. tenet)). Earlier in same sense was tendaunce (mid 15c.), from O.Fr. tendance …   Etymology dictionary

  • tendency — ► NOUN (pl. tendencies) 1) an inclination towards a particular characteristic or type of behaviour. 2) a group within a larger political party or movement …   English terms dictionary

  • Tendency — The word tendency is often used by left wing groups for an organized unit or political faction within the group. It may also refer to:* Bleeding tendency * Central tendency * Debs Tendency * Direct Action Tendency * Fist and Rose Tendency *… …   Wikipedia

  • tendency */*/ — UK [ˈtendənsɪ] / US noun [countable] Word forms tendency : singular tendency plural tendencies Get it right: tendency: When a verb comes after tendency, use the pattern tendency to do something (not tendency of doing something ): Wrong: …the… …   English dictionary

  • tendency — ten|den|cy W3S3 [ˈtendənsi] n plural tendencies [Date: 1600 1700; : Medieval Latin; Origin: tendentia, from Latin tendere; TEND] 1.) if someone or something has a tendency to do or become a particular thing, they are likely to do or become it a… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • tendency — noun ADJECTIVE ▪ clear, great, marked, pronounced, strong ▪ slight ▪ greater, growing, increased …   Collocations dictionary

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