dec·​a·​dence | \ ˈde-kə-dən(t)s How to pronounce decadence (audio) also di-ˈkā- \

Definition of decadence

1 : the process of becoming decadent : the quality or state of being decadent the decadence of modern society escape the decadence that attends upon old age— G. L. Dickinson
2 : a period of decline

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Choose the Right Synonym for decadence

deterioration, degeneration, decadence, decline mean the falling from a higher to a lower level in quality, character, or vitality. deterioration implies generally the impairment of value or usefulness. the deterioration of the house through neglect degeneration stresses physical, intellectual, or especially moral retrogression. the degeneration of their youthful idealism into cynicism decadence presupposes a reaching and passing the peak of development and implies a turn downward with a consequent loss in vitality or energy. cited love of luxury as a sign of cultural decadence decline differs from decadence in suggesting a more markedly downward direction and greater momentum as well as more obvious evidence of deterioration. the meteoric decline of his career after the scandal

Examples of decadence in a Sentence

The book condemns the decadence of modern society. a symbol of the decadence of their once-mighty civilization
Recent Examples on the Web Flowers and butterflies abound along with a bird to complete this lush forest scene where nature once again flourishes amid womanly dominance and the embrace of decadence. Natasha Gural, Forbes, 15 Sep. 2021 For extra decadence, drizzle on milk chocolate before serving. Katlyn Moncada, Better Homes & Gardens, 10 Aug. 2021 The show around him radiates pure artistic confidence, swerving between pop-music decadence, anxious cultural button-pushing, and intimate romantic turmoil. Kristen Baldwin,, 24 June 2021 Director Alma Har'el expertly stages the VMAs rehearsal as a parody of self-serious rap decadence, all modern dance and messiah imagery. Darren Franich,, 12 Aug. 2021 If the butt of that show’s jokes is corporate decadence, then White, who brings a touch more empathy to his satire, has equally profound things to say about the politics of leisure. Judy Berman, Time, 1 July 2021 These companies’ investors didn’t set out to bankroll our decadence. New York Times, 7 June 2021 Following World War I, a new generation emerged, wistful and vulnerable beneath the decadence. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, 6 Aug. 2021 The messiness of ripe fruit, the decadence of something toothsome and cold, combined into a single pan and delivered in one slice as an antidote to whatever ails. Washington Post, 30 July 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'decadence.' 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 decadence

1530, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for decadence

Middle French, from Medieval Latin decadentia, from Late Latin decadent-, decadens, present participle of decadere to fall, sink — more at decay entry 1

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The first known use of decadence was in 1530

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Last Updated

21 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Decadence.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Sep. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of decadence

: behavior that shows low morals and a great love of pleasure, money, fame, etc.

More from Merriam-Webster on decadence

Nglish: Translation of decadence for Spanish Speakers

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


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