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

America is the only country that went from barbarism to decadence without civilization in between. Charles C. W. Cooke, National Review, "My American Dream," 4 July 2019 Cass Bird gives the party of the year the silent-era treatment, transforming its already Fitzgeraldian decadence into a black-and-white bacchanal worthy of Buster Keaton. Vogue, "Watch Lady Gaga, Zoë Kravitz, and Other Met Gala Guests Party Like It’s 1929," 9 May 2019 There's a certain impressiveness to the sheer decadence involved in Nick Jonas' wedding to Priyanka Chopra. Kathryn Lindsay,, "Why Do I Suddenly Love The Jonas Brothers?," 15 June 2019 Jenner let the dress shine with minimal accessories: white pointed pumps gave it some modern edge, while a blinding necklace lent a further touch of decadence. Vogue, "Kendall Jenner Gives the Marie Antoinette Look a Modern Makeover," 4 Apr. 2019 Your Easter brunch already features some delectable bites, but this deep-dish quiche will take the decadence to a whole new level. Beth Lipton, Country Living, "Bacon and Leek Deep-Dish Quiche," 8 Mar. 2019 His Spring 2009 collection brought together wide ranging references, from Africa to 1940s pompadours, all served up with a helping of 1970s decadence. Laird Borrelli-persson, Vogue, "Vogue Runway Did a Ten-Year Fashion Challenge: Check Out the Results Here," 30 Jan. 2019 When President Donald Trump’s former campaign manager went on trial this summer for bank fraud and tax evasion, his huge clothing bills were cited by prosecutors as evidence of the lobbyist’s decadence and dishonesty. Maer Roshan, Town & Country, "In Beverly Hills and Beyond, Bijan Carries on a Tradition of Excess and Exclusivity," 22 Oct. 2018 The Dude stumbles into this same surreal Hollywood underbelly and immediately wants to find an A.T.M. Black gleefully embraces it as well, with his aesthetic of pool parties, hillside mansions and chintzy baroque decadence. Charles Bramesco, New York Times, "The Little Lebowskis: 10 Righteous Heirs to a Coen Brothers’ Classic," 6 Mar. 2018

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

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Statistics for decadence

Last Updated

19 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for decadence

The first known use of decadence was in 1530

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More Definitions for decadence



English Language Learners Definition of decadence

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

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