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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Did You Know?

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 These astrological divas never get tired of lavish dinners, exclusive parties, or decadent designer wear. Aliza Kelly Faragher, Allure, "The Personality of a Leo, Explained," 31 July 2020 This decadent dessert is made from the chain's original cheesecake that is swirled with Snickers pieces, chocolate, caramel, and peanuts all on a brownie crust. Mary Honkus,, "The Cheesecake Factory Has a New Snickers Cheesecake — and Is Donating $1 for Every Slice Sold," 30 July 2020 With its own burgeoning food scene, the SoHo and Hyde Park area has a long list of decadent dining options. Kara Franker, Southern Living, "Things to Do in Tampa, Florida: Attractions and Travel Guide," 10 July 2020 Neither the cult-favorite Priming Moisturizer (nor its even more decadent sister, the Priming Moisturizer Rich) did it for me and my oily, acne-prone skin. Karina Hoshikawa,, "Glossier’s First Gel Moisturizer Is Here — & We Tried It First," 1 July 2020 Cream cheese isn’t only for your breakfast bagels and decadent cheesecakes. Kelsey Ogletree, Better Homes & Gardens, "9 Clever Ways to Use Cream Cheese That Go Beyond a Bagel Topper," 1 July 2020 Millions of rose petals turned into a decadent carpet at a secluded villa. Angela Haupt, Washington Post, "Kevin Kwan moves on with ‘Sex and Vanity,’ but the characters are still crazy rich," 29 June 2020 Sanborn’s was known for decadent breakfasts, including huge German pancakes. oregonlive, "Portland breakfast restaurant Sanborn’s closes permanently," 24 June 2020 The overall cabin design is decadent in its simplicity, like a designer white T-shirt. Elana Scherr, Car and Driver, "2020 Aston Martin Vantage Coupe Is More Than Just a Beauty, It's an All-Around Charmer," 23 June 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Meals aboard range from simple and satisfying to full-on decadent — like grand cru wines and four-course meals on Barge Lady’s upper-end cruises, with ingredients guests sourced that day as the barge passed a market town or an artisanal cheesemaker. Elizabeth Heath, Washington Post, "Why this may be the moment for a micro cruise," 2 July 2020 Whipping up one of these decadent treats up at home will certainly put a smile on your face in this non-Derby, Derby week. Kathryn Gregory, The Courier-Journal, "It's 'Derby' week. Here are 3 Hot Brown recipes from Louisville restaurants to try at home," 29 Apr. 2020 The result: a decadent, yet still virtuous, cookie that’s also breakfast. New York Times, "T’s Guide to Staying at Home, and Making the Best of It," 19 Mar. 2020 Still, the power of the show flows just as much through its imagery—a decadent, unashamedly voyeuristic vision of athletic beauty, with a hallucinogenic verve that keeps it from becoming cheesy. Emily Nussbaum, The New Yorker, "Uncertain Attraction in “Work in Progress” and “Dare Me”," 16 Dec. 2019 On the food front, Puebla is noted as the birthplace of the decadent and spicy mole poblano, which is readily available from a number of local restaurants for your own culinary research. Valerie Marino, Condé Nast Traveler, "The Best Cities in the World: 2019 Readers' Choice Awards," 7 Oct. 2019 The resulting crust is incredibly flaky and Sussman’s smoky eggplant filling decadent. Los Angeles Times, "New Israeli recipes for Rosh Hashana from Adeena Sussman," 22 Sep. 2019 What to eat: At the Glisan location, try the decadent Migration Burger, with arugula, chili jam, prosciutto, blue cheese and aioli. Andre Meunier, oregonlive, "From big expansion to big honors, Migration is on the move: Portland Breweries Series," 9 Oct. 2019 His decadent, glowing glass-and-steel fashion towers often seem straight out of Blade Runner. Whitney Robinson, ELLE Decor, "Peter Marino’s Southampton Retreat Puts His Passion for French Porcelain on Full Display," 11 Sep. 2019

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

5 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Decadent.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for decadent


How to pronounce decadent (audio)

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

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