You can see the word "incline" inside inclination, which clues you in to the fact that inclination has to do with leaning. Sometimes the inclination is literal; in most cases it's about what you incline toward in a figurative sense.

An inclination is something you are leaning toward, a tendency you have. You could have a specific inclination for chocolate, or you could have an inclination that applies to a decision you are about to make: "Looking at this dessert menu, my inclination is to skip everything and just go home and have a chocolate bar."

Definitions of inclination
  1. noun
    the act of inclining; bending forward
    “an inclination of his head indicated his agreement”
    synonyms: inclining
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    a short abrupt inclination (as of the head)
    the act of nodding the head
    an inclination of the top half of the body forward and downward
    uncontrolled nodding
    type of:
    motility, motion, move, movement
    a change of position that does not entail a change of location
  2. noun
    the property possessed by a line or surface that departs from the vertical
    “he walked with a heavy inclination to the right”
    synonyms: lean, leaning, list, tilt
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    type of:
    position, spatial relation
    the spatial property of a place where or way in which something is situated
  3. noun
    (geometry) the angle formed by the x-axis and a given line (measured counterclockwise from the positive half of the x-axis)
    synonyms: angle of inclination
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    type of:
    the space between two lines or planes that intersect; the inclination of one line to another; measured in degrees or radians
  4. noun
    (astronomy) the angle between the plane of the orbit and the plane of the ecliptic stated in degrees
    synonyms: inclination of an orbit
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    type of:
    the space between two lines or planes that intersect; the inclination of one line to another; measured in degrees or radians
  5. noun
    (physics) the angle that a magnetic needle makes with the plane of the horizon
    synonyms: angle of dip, dip, magnetic dip, magnetic inclination
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    type of:
    the space between two lines or planes that intersect; the inclination of one line to another; measured in degrees or radians
  6. noun
    a characteristic likelihood of or natural disposition toward a certain condition or character or effect
    “the alkaline inclination of the local waters”
    synonyms: tendency
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    heterosis, hybrid vigor
    (genetics) the tendency of a crossbred organism to have qualities superior to those of either parent
    the tendency to float in water or other liquid
    electronegativity, negativity
    (chemistry) the tendency of an atom or radical to attract electrons in the formation of an ionic bond
    (cytology) the capacity of cells or cell parts to stain specifically with certain dyes
    an inclination to want things
    the tendency of cells to stain with basic dyes
    hunger, hungriness, thirst, thirstiness
    strong desire for something (not food or drink)
    excessive desire to acquire or possess more (especially more material wealth) than one needs or deserves
    type of:
    a natural or acquired habit or characteristic tendency in a person or thing
  7. noun
    an attitude of mind especially one that favors one alternative over others
    “he had an inclination to give up too easily”
    synonyms: disposition, tendency
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    a general course along which something has a tendency to develop
    drift, movement, trend
    a general tendency to change (as of opinion)
    a special disposition (as if from a divine source) to pursue a particular course
    the tendency, in Protestantism, to separate into religious denominations or to advocate such separations
    an inclination or desire; used in the plural in the phrase `left to your own devices'
    sympathy, understanding
    an inclination to support or be loyal to or to agree with an opinion
    favoritism, favouritism
    an inclination to favor some person or group
    leaning, proclivity, propensity
    a natural inclination
    bent, set
    a relatively permanent inclination to react in a particular way
    a disposition to interpret statements in their literal sense
    (psychology) the tendency for a memory or idea to persist or recur without any apparent stimulus for it
    an inclination beforehand to interpret statements in a particular way
    favor, favour
    an inclination to approve
    disapproval, disfavor, disfavour, dislike
    an inclination to withhold approval from some person or group
    partiality, partisanship
    an inclination to favor one group or view or opinion over alternatives
    impartiality, nonpartisanship
    an inclination to weigh both views or opinions equally
    a settled or prevailing or habitual course of a person's life
    evolutionary trend
    a general direction of evolutionary change
    a figurative movement toward some attraction
    orientation, predilection, preference
    a predisposition in favor of something
    an idiomatic term for being in disfavor
    severe disapproval
    anthropocentricity, anthropocentrism
    an inclination to evaluate reality exclusively in terms of human values
    belief in the superiority of one's own ethnic group
    belief in the preeminence of Europe and the Europeans
    bias, preconception, prejudice
    a partiality that prevents objective consideration of an issue or situation
    a slight but noticeable partiality
    localism, provincialism, sectionalism
    a partiality for some particular place
    partiality that is not fair or equitable
    freedom from bias or from selfish motives
    candor, candour, fair-mindedness, fairness
    ability to make judgments free from discrimination or dishonesty
    type of:
    attitude, mental attitude
    a complex mental state involving beliefs and feelings and values and dispositions to act in certain ways
  8. noun
    that toward which you are inclined to feel a liking
    “her inclination is for classical music”
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    that toward which you are inclined to feel dislike
    leaning, propensity, tendency
    an inclination to do something
    an inclination or liking for things involving conflict or difficulty or unpleasantness
    an inclination contrary to the strongest or prevailing feeling
    type of:
    a feeling of pleasure and enjoyment
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