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adjective de·cent \ˈdē-sənt\

Simple Definition of decent

  • : polite, moral, and honest

  • : showing kindness : seeming to care about the feelings or problems of other people

  • : good enough but not the best : adequate or acceptable

Full Definition of decent

  1. 1 archaic a :  appropriate b :  well-formed :  handsome

  2. 2 a :  conforming to standards of propriety, good taste, or morality <decent behavior> b :  modestly clothed

  3. 3 :  free from immodesty or obscenity <decent language>

  4. 4 :  fairly good :  adequate, satisfactory <decent wages>

  5. 5 :  marked by moral integrity, kindness, and goodwill <hard-working and decent folks> <it's very decent of them to help>

de·cent·ly adverb

Examples of decent

  1. Not long afterward, his father's health starts to fail. Mrs. Queenan has kicked him out, and he's landed in a flophouse. When word reaches Joe, he takes out his checkbook and moves his father into a decent apartment. —James McManus, New York Times Book Review, 26 Apr. 2009

  2. In a whiney, rambling speech at his sentencing he took a page from the script of the earlier case, once again portraying himself as a flawed but decent man unfairly caught up in circumstances. —Bill Hewitt et al., People, 22 Dec. 2008

  3. Tommy Railles, the doctor's boy. Just a great kid. Smart at school, a decent athlete, great with the girls, wonderful with older people. —Ward Just, Forgetfulness, (2006) 2007

  4. The next time an overly friendly blond sidles up in a crowded bar and asks you to order her a brand-name martini, or a cheery tourist couple wonder whether you can take their picture with their sleek new camera-in-a-cell phone, you might want to think twice. There's a —decentchance that these strangers are pitchmen in disguise, paid to oh-so-subtly pique your interest in their product. —Paul McFedries, Word Spy, 2004

  5. I don't understand how so decent a person could be involved with this kind of crime.

  6. He is a decent guy who would help anyone in need.

  7. You need to do the decent thing and tell her what happened.

  8. Are there any decent schools in that area?

  9. I've got to get some decent clothes.

Origin of decent

Middle French or Latin; Middle French, from Latin decent-, decens, present participle of decēre to be fitting; akin to Latin decus honor, dignus worthy, Greek dokein to seem, seem good

First Known Use: 1539

Synonym Discussion of decent

chaste, pure, modest, decent mean free from all taint of what is lewd or salacious. chaste primarily implies a refraining from acts or even thoughts or desires that are not virginal or not sanctioned by marriage vows <they maintained chaste relations>. pure differs from chaste in implying innocence and absence of temptation rather than control of one's impulses and actions <the pure of heart>. modest and decent apply especially to deportment and dress as outward signs of inward chastity or purity <preferred more modest swimsuits> <decent people didn't go to such movies>.

Rhymes with decent

Seen and Heard

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February 13, 2016

a trying or distressing experience

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