decadent

adjective
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)

decadent

noun

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

Adjective

decadently adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for decadent

Synonyms: Adjective

decayed, degenerate, effete, overripe, washed-up

Synonyms: Noun

backslider, debauchee, debaucher, degenerate, deviate, libertine, perv, pervert, profligate, rake, rakehell, rip

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

For his New York Fashion Week show, Ralph Lauren transformed a ballroom on Wall Street into Ralph's Club, a decadent Jazz Age nightclub. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "Janelle Monáe Brought the House Down at Ralph Lauren's NYFW Show," 8 Sep. 2019 For dessert, go with the truly decadent Banana Bread Pudding. Dwight Brown, Essence, "ESSENCE Eats: The New York Fashion Week Edition," 7 Sep. 2019 The Apple and Almond Tart is very fall, nice and decadent but comforting, too, and a sweet element. Jackie Burrell, The Mercury News, "Food Network’s Waylynn Lucas goes sunny-side-up on brunch," 7 Sep. 2019 Details like mother of pearl buttons, silk piping, and a rose quartz hue make this set even more decadent. Megan Spurrell, Condé Nast Traveler, "The Best Pajama Sets, Whether You're Traveling With Your In-Laws or College Roommates," 5 Sep. 2019 Amid the campaigning, the politics, and all the presidential hopefuls, the Iowa State Fair hasn’t forgotten to honor its notoriously decadent foods. Fox News, "Iowa State Fair declares beefy, cheesy wrap as 'Best New Food' offering of 2019," 16 Aug. 2019 The decadent caper, which is based on Jessica Pressler’s 2015 story for The Cut, uses its costuming in large part to signal its characters’ shifting relationships to the wealth that unites them. Hannah Giorgis, The Atlantic, "How Hustlers Captured the Excesses of Pre-Recession Fashion," 17 Sep. 2019 The contemporary dance company, which will perform two works by artistic director Stephen Page, features dancers of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander descent and creates visually decadent landscapes in which to tell their ancestors’ stories. Lauren Warnecke, chicagotribune.com, "Top 10 for dance this fall: Big stars on stage, from here and all the way from Australia," 6 Sep. 2019 So, find a favorite fruit, match a topping and enjoy your wholesome – but still decadent – dessert. Marcy Goldman, Twin Cities, "With less sugar, these cobblers, crisps and crumbles let their fruit flavors shine brighter," 15 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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 Make your morning extra decadent by topping your biscuits and gravy with sunny-side-up eggs. Aaron Hutcherson, Washington Post, "Here’s an easy way to make a classic breakfast pairing: biscuits and sausage gravy," 22 July 2019 Also occupying a massive corner of the South Hall was a decadent, comically large Fortnite booth. NBC News, "Dancing tomatoes and llama pinatas? This must be a gaming convention.," 26 June 2019 New York has some significance for Saint Laurent — Yves threw a grand party here in the ’70s for Opium — and the city’s decadents of that era, from Lou Reed to the Studio 54 crowd, inspired Mr. Vaccarello’s new collection. Matthew Schneier, New York Times, "If He Can Make It Here, He’ll Make It Anywhere," 7 June 2018 Wear a shiny solid one under your louchest suit (with or without a silk tie) or slip into a decadent, loose-fitting patterned one with, well, anything. The Editors Of Gq Style, GQ, "Why the Silk Shirt Should Be Your Go-To Summer Style Move," 5 June 2018 Special for this year is a new array of decadent dipped berries with chocolate chips and pink shimmer sugar. Jennifer Jolly, USA TODAY, "Give moms what they want more of this Mother's Day with these life hacks," 7 May 2018 Insider tip: The mac-nut cinnamon roll, dripping with icing ($5.25) is a decadent must for sweetaholics. Rosemary Mcclure, latimes.com, "In Kauai, where to eat for cheap: 20 places to chow down for $20," 15 Apr. 2018 So eat your feelings with La Tur, a decadent, almost molten cheese that takes care of you and makes any bad day go away. Alyse Whitney, Bon Appetit, "10 Valentine’s Day Pairings for Cheeses and Cheesy Rom-Coms," 12 Feb. 2018

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

Adjective

1837, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Noun

1886, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for decadent

Adjective and Noun

back-formation from decadence

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Statistics for decadent

Last Updated

13 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for decadent

The first known use of decadent was in 1837

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More Definitions for decadent

decadent

adjective

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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Comments on decadent

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