decadent

adjective
dec·a·dent | \ ˈde-kə-dənt 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)

Keep scrolling for more

Other words from decadent

Adjective

decadently adverb

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
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Under $20: Big, soft blankets for snuggling There's something so decadent about cranking up the AC in the dead of summer and hiding under a big, warm blanket. Samantha Gordon, USA TODAY, "Here are the 5 best Amazon deals right now," 9 July 2018 Food & Drink Circa ’62 at the Inn at Schoolhouse Creek A quaint inn uphill from Route 1 serves a decadent brunch. Jody Rosen, Smithsonian, "This Secret Corner of California Is a Paradise for Lovers of Great Food and Top-Notch Wines," 14 June 2018 The collection includes decadent offerings including bubble bath, candles, and of course cologne (including Amber & Lavender, a scent favored by her husband). Sarah Spellings, The Cut, "To Poppy Delevingne, Happiness Smells Like Skipping Class," 11 June 2018 Fluffy and delicate, all these pancakes need is butter and maple syrup to make any morning decidedly decadent. Woman's Day Kitchen, Woman's Day, "Basic Buttermilk Pancakes," 27 Nov. 2012 Caseus Fromagerie & Bistro, celebrated for its cheese-heavy, decadent fare, will host its last service July 21 after more than 10 years in New Haven. Leeanne Griffin, courant.com, "New Haven's Caseus To Close July 21; New Concept Planned For September," 13 July 2018 Sinking maybe $100,000 on a jacket, $20,000 on shoes, or lord knows how much on a small crocodile case designed solely to carry champagne might seem decadent. Luke Leitch, Vogue, "Male Patterned Boldness: Dolce & Gabbana’s Alta Sartoria Ode to Villa Carlotta," 9 July 2018 This is a decadent, faithful version of the comfort food standard-bearer. Anchorage Daily News, "A revamped menu of comfort food at Rustic Goat restaurant," 5 July 2018 Each side sought to project images of social and cultural superiority; stories of people corrupted by the decadent West or persecuted by the KGB were turned into weapons. The Economist, "The death of the archetypal Russian villain," 28 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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 Go for a Swim Jumping in a pool or a swimming hole during the rain simply feels decadent, like being in an outdoor spa. Sami Emory, Outside Online, "Embrace the Rain," 27 Mar. 2018 Food specialties: Georgacopoulos said besides being known for the complimentary doughnuts, Juicy-O takes pride in their pancakes (classic buttermilk or decadent like the maple bacon bourbon) and savory dishes. Jane Donahue, Naperville Sun, "Treat yourself to Juicy-O, including free doughnuts," 13 Mar. 2018 All four beers were worth the trip to Rocklin, especially the decadent yet drinkable imperial stouts, although Gallanosa is also considered a master of IPAs. Daniel Barnes, sacbee, "One of San Diego's best brewers has moved to Sacramento. Here's why | The Sacramento Bee," 2 Mar. 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.

See More

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

back-formation from decadence

Noun

see decadent entry 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about decadent

Statistics for decadent

Last Updated

1 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for decadent

The first known use of decadent was in 1837

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on decadent

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

WORD OF THE DAY

an open space surrounded by woods

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Food Quiz

Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!