July 17, 2016
tendency (noun)
\TEN-dun-see\ Hear it!
What does it mean?
1 : a direction or approach toward a place, object, result, or limit2 : a leaning toward a particular kind of thought or action : inclination
How do you use it?
Adam has a knack for thinking up big ideas but he has a tendency to overlook small but necessary details.
Are you a word wiz?

The word "tendency" has several relatives in English that all come from the Latin root "tendere." We've listed three of the relatives below. Which one do you think comes from a Latin root word different from the root of "tendency"?

We hope you were inclined to choose D! "Tenacious," meaning "not easily pulled apart, tending to stick," comes from the Latin "tenere," meaning "to hold," so it is not part of this word family. "Tendency" and the other answer choices, however, trace back to the Latin "tendere," meaning "to stretch." And the definitions of "tent," "tense," and "tension" all have to do with stretching. A "tent" is a portable shelter made of a fabric such as nylon that is stretched and supported by poles. "Tense" means "stretched tight, made taut, rigid." And "tension" refers to the act of stretching, often to stiffness.
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