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Somehow, it seems that the word 'proclivity' is increasingly used instead of 'inclination' in non-objectionable contexts. Such use is contrary to the definition of 'proclivity'.

CALD
proclivity /prəˈklɪv.ɪ.ti/ US /-ə.ţi/
noun [C] FORMAL
a tendency to do or like something, especially something immoral:
- the sexual proclivities of celebrities
- his proclivity for shapely blondes

OALD
a natural tendency to do sth or to feel sth, often sth bad Syn: ↑propensity
- his sexual/criminal proclivities
- the government's proclivity for spending money

Specific example in academia
Some seemed to have what we could call a “proclivity” for the practices they are asked to learn. The context is religion, the practice is praying.

Also, Jordan Peterson was using it in an interview too. The topic was not 'objectionable'

Is there anybody who can provide a good reason for this 'misuse' of proclivity in non-objectionable contexts?

Thank you!

  • 1
    The definition says especially, not only. So, you can't say it's a misuse. Even if there were an objective pattern that established its use as increasing when it comes to things that are not immoral (which the definition does not prohibit), that could just be a change in how it's used. Language changes all the time. But, for example, I can easily say, "I have a proclivity for chocolate." Eating chocolate is far from immoral. – Jason Bassford Feb 3 at 21:02
  • 1
    It's called language change. It often doesn't have a coherent reason: it's just what people do. – Colin Fine Feb 3 at 21:03
  • You can see from here (books.google.com/…) that the word can refer to any natural tendency, good, bad, or indifferent. That it was often used in contexts having to do with undesirable behaviors (sin, crime, evil, bad habits, etc) probably has to do more with the history of ideas than with language-change per se. – TRomano Feb 3 at 21:15
  • Inclination means something else and would not make sense in the example you’ve quoted here anyway. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Feb 4 at 0:51
  • @JanusBahsJacquet - any chance to buttress the statement that you have made? – johann_ka Feb 5 at 18:40

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