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[v. in-klahyn; n. in-klahyn, in-klahyn] /v. ɪnˈklaɪn; n. 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. 2015.
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Examples from the web for incline
  • The first will be an interval program that will alter your pace and incline.
  • One would be to measure the moment of inertia of a ball by letting it roll down an incline.
  • The same logic would prevent runners who live in flat neighborhoods from raising the incline level of their treadmills.
  • Now, true, one's predisposition or personal history could incline one toward certain types of arguments over others.
  • Hulk after dusky hulk lumbers down a gentle incline and is sorted by the switch of a point.
  • So an infinitesimal incline of its rider's head will propel the scooter in the chosen direction.
  • There is nothing harder than packing a truck on an incline.
  • She downs them, floors the accelerator and sends the speeding car hurtling off the road, down an incline and into a stone wall.
  • Any bicyclist knows how challenging it can be to change gears while pedaling up a steep incline.
  • With the automatic transmission a driver can stop at the steepest incline on the hill without worry of rolling back.
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
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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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