c. 1600, "mental tendency," from incline (v.). The literal meaning "slant, slope" is attested from 1846 in railroading.
in early use also encline, c. 1300, "to bend or bow toward," from Old French encliner "to lean, bend, bow down," from Latin inclinare "to cause to lean; bend, incline, turn, divert," from in- "into, in, on, upon" (from PIE root *en "in") + clinare "to bend," from PIE *klein-, suffixed form of root *klei- "to lean." Metaphoric sense of "have a mental disposition toward" is early 15c. in English (but existed in classical Latin). Related: Inclined; inclining.
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