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[verb in-klahyn; noun in-klahyn, in-klahyn] /verb ɪnˈklaɪn; noun ˈɪn klaɪn, ɪnˈklaɪn/
verb (used with object), inclined, inclining.
to deviate from the vertical or horizontal; slant.
to have a mental tendency, preference, etc.; be disposed:
We incline to rest and relaxation these days.
to tend, in a physical sense; approximate:
The flowers incline toward blue.
to tend in character or in course of action:
a political philosophy that inclines toward the conservative.
to lean; bend.
to dispose (a person) in mind, habit, etc. (usually followed by to):
His attitude did not incline me to help him.
to bow, nod, or bend (the head, body, etc.):
He inclined his head in greeting.
to cause to lean or bend in a particular direction.
an inclined surface; slope; slant.
  1. Also called inclined plane, incline plane. a cable railroad, the gradient of which is approximately 45°.
  2. any railroad or portion of a railroad, the gradient of which is too steep for ordinary locomotive adhesion alone to be effective.
  1. an angled shaft following a dipping vein.
  2. an inclined haulageway.
incline one's ear, to listen, especially willingly or favorably:
to incline one's ear to another's plea.
Origin of incline
1300-50; Middle English inclinen < Latin inclīnāre, equivalent to in- in-2 + -clīnāre to bend (see lean1); replacing Middle English enclinen < Middle French < Latin, as above
Related forms
incliner, noun
overincline, verb, overinclined, overinclining.
reincline, verb, reinclined, reinclining.
1. lean, slope, rise, fall, pitch. 2. tend, lean. 3, 4. verge, veer. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for incline
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Many motives conspired to incline Selina to accept of the invitation.

  • It would have been as easy for quicksilver to remain at the top of an incline.

    A Woman Tenderfoot Grace Gallatin Seton-Thompson
  • I incline very much to doubt that I should do it in any event, Mr. Duncan.

    The Fortune Hunter Louis Joseph Vance
  • This indifference of his to London, I cannot but say, made me incline the more to go thither.

    Clarissa, Volume 3 (of 9) Samuel Richardson
  • The water appeared to be running down an incline of about twenty degrees.

    The Long Labrador Trail Dillon Wallace
  • You then incline to the doctrine of Mr. Blunt, Miss Effingham?

    Homeward Bound James Fenimore Cooper
  • And I incline to the belief that they of all bards have sung best the song of love.

    The Book of Khalid Ameen Rihani
  • To avoid slipping down the incline she clung to the young man's neck.

British Dictionary definitions for incline


verb (ɪnˈklaɪn)
to deviate or cause to deviate from a particular plane, esp a vertical or horizontal plane; slope or slant
when tr, may take an infinitive. to be disposed or cause to be disposed (towards some attitude or to do something): he inclines towards levity, that does not incline me to think that you are right
to bend or lower (part of the body, esp the head), as in a bow or in order to listen
incline one's ear, to listen favourably (to)
noun (ˈɪnklaɪn; ɪnˈklaɪn)
an inclined surface or slope; gradient
short for inclined railway
Derived Forms
incliner, noun
Word Origin
C13: from Latin inclīnāre to cause to lean, from clīnāre to bend; see lean1
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for incline

c.1300, "to bend or bow toward," from Old French encliner, from Latin inclinare "to cause to lean; bend, incline, turn, divert," from in- "into, in, on, upon" (see in- (2)) + clinare "to bend," from PIE *klei-n-, suffixed form of *klei- "to lean" (see lean (v.)). Metaphoric sense of "have a mental disposition toward" is early 15c. in English (but existed in classical Latin). Related: Inclined; inclining.


c.1600, "mental tendency," from incline (v.). The literal meaning "slant, slope" is attested from 1846.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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