Simple Definition of decorous
: correct and polite in a particular situation
Full Definition of decorous
: marked by propriety and good taste : correct <decorous conduct>
Examples of decorous in a sentence
<we were asked to be on our most decorous behavior at the formal event>
<the oppressively decorous standards of a royal court>
Did You Know?
The current meaning of "decorous" dates from the mid-17th century. One of the word's earliest recorded uses appeared in a book titled The Rules of Civility (1673): "It is not decorous to look in the Glass, to comb, brush, or do any thing of that nature to ourselves, whilst the said person be in the Room." (There is also a slightly older sense of "decorous" that means "fitting, appropriate," but that sense is now obsolete.) Decorous derives from the Latin word decorus, an adjective created from the noun decor, meaning "beauty" or "grace." "Decor" is akin to the Latin verb decēre ("to be fitting"), which is the source of our adjective "decent." It is only fitting, then, that "decent" can be a synonym of "decorous."
Origin of decorous
Latin decorus, from decor beauty, grace; akin to Latin decēre to be fitting — more at decent
First Known Use: 1653
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up decorous? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).