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

Intimacy and decadence can and should be hand in glove. Olivia Martin, Town & Country, "Did Instagram Kill the Round Dining Table?," 5 Sep. 2019 Hutong is part of David Yeo’s restaurant group, which includes more than twenty operations across three continents and whose unifying theme might be characterized as polished, unapologetic decadence. Jiayang Fan, The New Yorker, "The Unapologetic Decadence of Hutong," 31 Aug. 2019 All you party people should know that the Al Hirschfeld Theater has been refurbished as an opulent pleasure palace, wherein decadence comes without hangovers. Ben Brantley, New York Times, "Review: ‘Moulin Rouge! The Musical’ Offers a Party, and a Playlist, for the Ages," 25 July 2019 And when members of the Street Chorus rushed from the stage out into the audience, the production’s sense of chaos and decadence was more terrifying than last year. Howard Reich,, "Ravinia review: Bernstein’s ‘Mass’ gets a brilliant encore, bound for TV," 21 July 2019 Any minor decadence must be stripped to retain respectability. Cate Young, Vox, "Claws is a love letter to the proud, strip mall–fabulous American woman," 2 Aug. 2019 His determined generalizations about British decadence . . Dan Hofstadter, WSJ, "‘A Chill in the Air’ Review: A Tuscan Idyll Before the War," 30 Aug. 2018 This is total speculation, but part of me does wonder if the way Beaujolais’ low-alcohol bottles of glou-glou captured the hearts of the modern wine world after decades of decadence had any influence over its northern neighbors. Marissa A. Ross, Bon Appétit, "The New Burgundy Wines Are Not as Bougie as You Think," 19 July 2019 While the sandwich was born of aristocratic decadence – a way of feeding the eponymous Earl at the card table – the doner kebab was an entrepreneurial by-product of the Wirtschaftwunder, the West German economic boom. 1843, "Don’t knock the doner kebab," 10 July 2019

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

13 Sep 2019

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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

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

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Comments on decadence

What made you want to look up decadence? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


one from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan

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