They can both translate as "to lean" but I think they're not interchangeable. Or are they? Take this sentence for example:


Can I use 偏る in this sentence?

2 Answers 2


If you describe physical inclination with those two words, it's like this:

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Though English "lean" covers both, 偏る tells that something becomes uneven as if its center of gravity is drawing near to one side, while 傾く means that something loses its uprightness in a way getting unstable.

The ship gave a lurch and the cargo of coal leaned to one side.

For your example:


it cannot be replaced with 偏る in the usual sense, unless, say, what you have thought is wall is actually a sandbag-like structure and its packed content flows to either side due to the earthquake.


傾く is used to describe a slope. So, the shockwave of earthquake bent the fence.

偏る is used to describe that something is away from the average or the fitting line.

Therefore, only 地震で塀が傾いた。works.

Probably I will edit this later on, if it is not detailed enough.

  • I think I'm beginning to understand it. Does it mean that if we're talking about an outlier(外れ値) in statistics, we can use 偏る?
    – rebuuilt
    May 19, 2020 at 12:37
  • 1
    @rebuuilt 外れ値 is by definition beyond ±2~3σ from the mean isn't it? I think the data spotting on more than ±2~3σ from the mean in statistics is called 偏る(i.e. there are outliers in + side or - side or both side). But it does not have to be an outlier. We just want to say something is away from the center or the average or the balance. May 19, 2020 at 13:08

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