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Both words seem to have a meaning of "current" and "tendency/trend". How are these different? Also, using the tendency meaning, do they differ from 傾向?

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  • 風潮 is "how people tend to think/feel about something these days". It can often be undesirable to the speaker, and it often has a negative or sarcastic nuance as compared to トレンド.
    • 世間の、縞模様のシャツは格好悪いという風潮
    • 仕事よりもプライベートを優先する社会の風潮
    • 世間の風潮に流されずに生きたい。
  • 潮流 ("tide") is a fairly grandiose word as compared to 風潮, and it refers to a global and gradual movement, often toward a new paradigm, a new age, a new political system, etc.
    • 時代の潮流
    • 世界経済の潮流
    • 共産主義への潮流
  • 傾向 is just "tendency", and it's typically unrelated to people's thoughts or ideology.
    • 今年の気温の傾向
    • 男性は女性より背が高い傾向がある。

潮流 also has a physical meaning ("tide"). 風潮 is almost never used in a physical sense today.

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