Disposed vs. predisposed

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To be disposed is (1) to be in a willing frame of mind toward something, (2) to be suitably placed or situated, or (3) to have a tendency toward something. To be predisposed is to be disposed in advance or to be inherently disposed toward something. Many dispositions are fleeting and so are not predispositions. For example, if pizza is your favorite food, then you are predisposed to having it, but if you only like pizza sometimes, then you might not be disposed to having it tonight.

But while disposed usually applies to preferences, predisposed often applies to things that are beyond one’s control, especially medical conditions. For example, if you have weak bones, then you might be predisposed to ankle injury. Disposed is occasionally used this way, though it can cause confusion. If you say you’re disposed to ankle injury, we might think you are masochistic or have an elaborate plan to get out of physical labor.


With sanctions hitting Iran’s economy and currency, Tehran may be disposed to compromise with its Western critics. [Arab News]

People predisposed to being obese could cancel out the genetic factors related to weight gain by getting more sleep. [Barchester Healthcare]

Not one single respondent claimed that this move would make them more disposed to vote Conservative. [Christian Concern]

Yesterday, the Mail reported how a new study has found that some people are genetically predisposed to being nice. [Daily Mail]

They openly betray a shallow-minded and diversionary political disposition to oppose for the sake of opposing. [AllAfrica]

He also hopes to beat his predisposition to diabetes, which runs in the family. [Columbus Dispatch]