Definitions

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

  • n. A definite liking; a strong inclination. See Synonyms at predilection.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. taste, liking, or inclination (for)

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Inclination; decided taste; bias.
  • n. A game like bézique, or, in the game, any queen and jack of different suits held together.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Strong inclination; decided taste; liking; bias.

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

  • n. a strong liking

Etymologies

French, from present participle of pencher, to incline, from Old French, from Vulgar Latin *pendicāre, from Latin pendēre, to hang; see (s)pen- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Borrowing from French penchant, present participle of pencher ("to tilt, to lean"), from Middle French, from Old French pengier ("to tilt, be out of line"), from Vulgar Latin *pendicāre, a derivative of Latin pendere ("to hang, to lean"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • His penchant is for the gargantuan – auto companies, school violence, capitalism, health care.

    Live Blog from the Anchor Desk 09/30/09

  • That agents of the state of Israel are behind much if not all of the "Hamas rockets" is a reasonable conclusion and backed up by the Israeli governments long term penchant for fabricating Muslim terrorism.

    The Butchering Of Gaza

  • And he fears updating the Copyright Act will blow up because of the Tory's short-term penchant for slogans and electioneering.

    The Globe and Mail - Home RSS feed

  • The cable is embarrassing for Mr. King, whose r ole in setting the country ' s interest rate is supposed to be apolitical and has fed into mounting criticism of the central banker for what has been described as his penchant for exerting political pressure.

    U.K. Officials Brace For New WikiLeaks Revelations

  • FAIR called his penchant for attacking Muslim countries "an O'Reilly trademark", and "his disregard for Muslim civilians is matched by the anti-Muslim sentiments he frequently expresses on both his nationally syndicated radio show, the Radio Factor," reaching 3.5 million listeners, and his top-rated FNC show.

    Paid Lying: What Passes for Major Media Journalism

  • And might this be related to what others have termed our penchant for reliance on 'basic-level categories.'

    The Phanerozoic fallacy

  • We're up here knocking about a little, partly to hunt, but mostly because I've a penchant, that is, a weakness for exploring out-of-the-way places.

    Canoe Mates in Canada Three Boys Afloat on the Saskatchewan

  • Karamargin, a spokesman for Ms. Giffords, called her penchant for frugality.

    NYT > Home Page

  • "The color of the letters seems very Howard Hughes," she said, referring to his penchant for sultry actresses like Ava Gardner and Rita Hayworth.

    NYT > Home Page

  • Writer Lionel Shriver writers recalls a penchant for writing long, febrile short stories and supporting unpopular political positions.

    Telegraph.co.uk: news, business, sport, the Daily Telegraph newspaper, Sunday Telegraph

Comments

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  • penchant has been misspelled at least three ways - pencient, penchent and penchint. Your speller did not pick up any misspellings. However, in my comment the second 2 were corrected and it took me sometime to have the misspelled words printed.

    November 9, 2013

  • 1672, from Fr. penchant, properly the prp. of O.Fr. pencher "to incline," from V.L. *pendicare, a frequentative formed from L. pendere "to hang" (see pendant).

    October 18, 2007