tendency of a place

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■ [mass noun]
the tendency of a place to be frequented by many people
places of public resort

I don't understand how it can be that a place has a tendency. Though, I understand the meaning of the sentence.

1) (often followed by to) an inclination, predisposition, propensity, or leaning
2) the general course, purport, or drift of something, esp a written work
3) a faction, esp one within a political party
(Collins English Dictionary)
Which definition of these three is implied in the sentence in green? (The third one is definitely not)

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  • owlman5

    Senior Member
    If a place is often frequented by many people, it is possible to speak of "the tendency of a place to be frequented by many people". I wouldn't use "tendency" if I wanted to write about the place, but whoever wrote that definition for Oxford Dictionary thought the word was appropriate.


    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    We're looking at 1b here, predisposition. You probably feel that because a place does not have a will of its own, it cannot actively tend to do something.
    But this is a passive construction. Think of it as the people tending to frequent the place, and therefore the place is predisposed to being frequented.


    Senior Member
    English - England
    "resort- the tendency of a place to be frequented by many people - places of public resort.

    That is so convoluted that I can only imagine that the writer was having a bad day. "A place that tends to be frequented by people, usually for health, sport, relaxation, etc."


    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    Methinks you've misunderstood the definition, Paul.
    Your definition is the usual one for "resort", i.e. a popular holiday destination, but the Oxford definition extracted by the OP is for one of the word's less usual meanings, so unusual that it does not appear in the WR dictionary.
    "Places of public resort" is offered as an example of the usage of the word with that unusual meaning, and the green definition seems to make perfect sense - it sounds as obscure as the usage itself.


    Senior Member
    UK English
    The word resort is described as archaic in the dictionary in the sense "of public resort".
    It is not helped by the definition "tendency of a place to be frequented by many people", which is an odd combination of words.
    If you google "the tendency of a place to", you find about 30 examples, all but two of which simply repeat the definition above. The two exceptions are in a text produced for the EU (which is probably a translation from French) and a Wiktionary entry, in which someone writes what appears to me to be nonsense: '"Seismicity" is a perfectly good word in English to describe the tendency of a place to have earthquakes.'

    On the other hand, we can say that "a place tends to be frequented by many people". There's no problem with using the verb tend.


    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    I would only use the word in that sense as the last resort.
    :thumbsup: I haven't seen a pun as good as that since the other day, when an interpretation about the meaning of spots was described as "spot on".

    Interestingly, W3NID (Webster's Third New International Dictionary) has a definition for that sense of "resort" which is not as convoluted as the "tendency" version:
    "frequent, habitual, or general going [to] or repairing to or visiting" (using a similar example "a place of popular resort").
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