a little inclined to be stocky


Senior Member
"[...] The intruder apparently was a stocky man, built with the strength of a battleship. He got away also, without leaving anything behind him to serve for identification."

"You have no more description than of the first man?"

"Unfortunately not. Medium height, a little inclined to be stocky, strong as a longshoreman—that's all."
Just how stocky is this intruder to be called "a little inclined"? Is he slightly on the stocky side?

Source: The Film Mystery by Arthur B. Reeve
  • kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    If you knew the person over a period of time it would make more sense to say "he's inclined to be a little stocky". That means there's a pattern where the majority of the time he's a little bit overweight, although sometimes he's thinner.

    If you only see a person one time "inclined to be" doesn't really fit as well. You just know what you see that one time ("be" is about an ongoing state of being). They way you paraphrased it seems like a better way to say it.

    He was slightly on the stocky side.

    Or mix the two but get rid of "be" because you have no idea what his ongoing inclination is.

    He was a little inclined to the stocky side.

    Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    I don't think we would use "inclined" like this today, where kentix in post #3 has given a good description of how it might now be understood. But I always took "inclined to be" to mean "slightly" in Iolanthe (1882), where Iolanthe describes her son as "He's extremely pretty, but he's inclined to be stout". Of course, Iolanthe did know her son over many years, so kentix' interpretation is not ruled out. The Film Mystery is a lot more recent (1921), but I would say "inclined to be" means "slightly" here as well.
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