If anyone has ever told you to do something you didn’t want to do, you’ve felt a disinclination, a doubt about participating. Having a disinclination means you’re just not into it, so you hesitate.

In Herman Melville’s short novel “Bartleby, the Scrivener,” when anyone asks Bartleby for a favor, he always replies, “I would prefer not to.” That’s an example of a disinclination — the feeling that there are other things you’d rather be doing. If someone tells you to eat a lightbulb, you might feel a disinclination to do that, and for good reason. The Latin roots of the word roughly translate to “unable to bend,” which describes your unwilling disinclination quite well.

Definitions of disinclination

n a certain degree of unwillingness

hesitancy, hesitation, indisposition, reluctance
sloth, slothfulness
a disinclination to work or exert yourself
Type of:
involuntariness, unwillingness
the trait of being unwilling

n that toward which you are inclined to feel dislike

“his disinclination for modesty is well known”
that toward which you are inclined to feel a liking
Type of:
a feeling of aversion or antipathy

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