dec·​a·​dence | \ˈde-kə-dən(t)s 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

Devotees of Sunset Strip rock decadence may enjoy the general seediness. Noel Murray,, "Review: Mashup of cameos and mismatched footage doesn't fly in weird vampire flick 'Sunset Society'," 5 July 2018 This is a team working with the biggest market, the best weather, the most successful history, and anecdotal evidence of illuminati powers that bend the arc of history toward Lakers decadence. Andrew Sharp,, "Trusting the Lakers' Process in NBA Free Agency," 26 June 2018 Peter Charming threw parties — epic evenings of ‘70s-style decadence and debauchery. Alexis Burling,, "‘I Will Be Complete,’ by Glen David Gold," 21 June 2018 Interspersed with the decadence are tips for diners, such as: Never order fish on a Monday; don’t dine out on Saturday nights; and be wary of the Sunday brunch menu. Michael Klein,, "Anthony Bourdain: He didn't set out to be a celebrity," 8 June 2018 His work, like that of his cocksure young protégé Egon Schiele (1890-1918)—famed for his moody, expressive portraits and raw, erotic nudes—seemed to echo the decadence of a world cursed by an inescapably dark destiny. Mary Tompkins Lewis, WSJ, "‘Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele’ and ‘Obsession’ Reviews: More Than Apocalyptic Visions," 9 July 2018 This isn’t the first time those associated with the decadence of Studio 54 shared their memories. Stephanie Nolasco, Fox News, "Studio 54 documentary exposes salacious history of drug-fueled nightclub," 4 June 2018 But there's also plenty of decadence — cookies, biscuits, and more biscuits to give a few examples. Southern Living, "What Joanna Gaines Eats to Stay Healthy," 3 July 2018 From that cesspool of decadence and depravity at Churchill Downs the genre of Gonzo journalism was born and the fastest two minutes in sports started a friendship that lasted a lifetime between the writer and the artist. The Courier-Journal, "Ralph Steadman Recalls 1970 Derby Adventure," 3 May 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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Dictionary Entries near decadence


decade box






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Time Traveler for decadence

The first known use of decadence was in 1530

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English Language Learners Definition of decadence

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

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the figure or shape of a crescent moon

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