dec·​a·​dent | \ ˈde-kə-dənt How to pronounce decadent (audio) also di-ˈkā- \

Definition of decadent

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : characterized by or appealing to self-indulgence a rich and decadent dessert the hotel's decadent luxury
2 : marked by decay or decline an increasingly decadent society
3 literature : of, relating to, or having the characteristics of a group of late 19th century French and English writers tending toward artificial and unconventional subjects and subtilized style : of, relating to, or having the characteristics of the decadents (see decadent entry 2 sense 1)



Definition of decadent (Entry 2 of 2)

1 literature : one of a group of late 19th century French and English writers tending toward artificial and unconventional subjects and subtilized style
2 : one that is marked by decay or decline : one that is decadent (see decadent entry 1 sense 2)

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Other Words from decadent


decadently adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for decadent

Synonyms: Adjective

Synonyms: Noun

Antonyms: Adjective

  • undecadent
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To be decadent is to be in the process of decay, so a powerful nation may be said to be in a decadent stage if its power is fading. But the word is more often used to speak of moral decay. Ever since the Roman empire, we've tended to link Rome's fall to the moral decay of its ruling class, who indulged in extreme luxuries and unwholesome pleasures while providing the public with cruel spectacles such as the slaughter of the gladiators. But not everyone agrees on what moral decadence looks like (or even how it might have hastened the fall of Rome), though most people think it involves too many sensual pleasures—as, for instance, among the French and English poets and artists of the 1880s and ʼ90s called the Decadents. These days, for some reason, people have decided decadent is the way to describe rich chocolate cakes.

Examples of decadent in a Sentence

Adjective The book condemns some of society's wealthiest members as decadent fools. a wealthy and decadent lifestyle a decadent hotel room, complete with a hot tub We relaxed in decadent luxury. Noun avant-garde artists who were scorned by the bourgeoisie as talentless decadents a decadent who squandered her once considerable family fortune
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective There aren’t many picnic items more decadent — or appreciated — than caviar. New York Times, 20 July 2021 Foresters wanted to get rid of deep, dark, dank, decadent old-growth forests, to make room for thrifty young stands: Such was the thinking as recently as a generation ago, Franklin recounts. Tribune News Service, oregonlive, 18 July 2021 Fat Sal’s piles the ingredients of your wildest dreams between two pieces of bread, lathers on decadent sauces and seasonings, and tops it off with the perfect amount of cheesy meltage. Jasmine Li, Vulture, 16 July 2021 Irishman Brian Deegan oversees the menu, where wild sea bass with pumpkin and vanilla risotto, or truffled beef with pork belly and potato are just some of the decadent creations on offer. Chris Dwyer, CNN, 15 July 2021 The warm, stylish eatery in a 19th-century building was known for serving top-notch New American fare, brunch and artisanal cocktails, including things like beignets, braised short ribs, and, of course, decadent desserts. Kathryn Gregory, The Courier-Journal, 19 June 2021 Plus, the setup is fabulously decadent and, in a city based on temptation, a perfect display of gluttony. T.m. Shine, Washington Post, 29 June 2021 Breakfast is equally decadent, best to arrive prepared to eat. Katie Kelly Bell, Forbes, 22 June 2021 Incorporating this whole-fruit stew into ice cream makes for a decadent dessert, but be careful of the tiny seeds. Anquanette Gaspard, Travel + Leisure, 27 May 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun If couture season is typically something of a decadent enigma, the series of beauty looks that punctuated the post-pandemic parade were a treat in the truest sense. Calin Van Paris, Vogue, 16 July 2021 There are 111 rooms and 19 suites, the most decadent of which feature multi-floor layouts, chandeliers, and 360-degree views of the city. Cailey Rizzo, Travel + Leisure, 29 June 2021 Help him make time (and the appointment) by booking him a decadent, mind and body-focused massage in a beautiful setting. Margaux Lushing, Forbes, 16 June 2021 But many found her work decadent, scandalous — and not great literature., 23 June 2021 The truth is, meals from the chain can be incredibly nutrient-rich and balanced-or over-the-top decadent. Cynthia Sass, Mph,, 11 June 2021 Hungry Redditors were eager to duplicate the simple, vintage dessert and the decadent Bundt cake immediately took off. Meghan Overdeep, Southern Living, 7 June 2021 Rather than having everyone reach into a plastic packaging to grab jumbo marshmallows and chocolate squares, put together a decadent s'mores board instead. Emily Vanschmus, Better Homes & Gardens, 1 June 2021 While many experiences in Central Florida allow visitors to get up-close with animals or indulge in a decadent dining outing, few combine the two. Kathleen Christiansen,, 23 May 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'decadent.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of decadent


1837, in the meaning defined at sense 2


1886, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for decadent

Adjective and Noun

back-formation from decadence

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Time Traveler for decadent

Time Traveler

The first known use of decadent was in 1837

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Statistics for decadent

Last Updated

25 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Decadent.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Jul. 2021.

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More Definitions for decadent



English Language Learners Definition of decadent

: having low morals and a great love of pleasure, money, fame, etc.
: attractive to people of low morals who are only interested in pleasure
: extremely pleasing

More from Merriam-Webster on decadent

Nglish: Translation of decadent for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of decadent for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about decadent


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