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)



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


decadently adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for decadent

Synonyms: Adjective

Synonyms: Noun

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 Traditionally, the West had been portrayed as a sort of decadent hotbed of sin in Hindi movies. Neha Prakash, Marie Claire, "Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge," 7 Oct. 2020 More recently, speculoos has been repurposed into a decadent blend of crushed cookies and oil that has gained worldwide acclaim through the brand Lotus Biscoff. Shaena Montanari, The Arizona Republic, "We tried Trader Joe's new Speculoos Cookie Butter Beer. Here's what it really tastes like," 5 Oct. 2020 In the decadent court at Versailles, the killing reached such a treacherous level that King Louis XIV set up a tribunal specifically to investigate poison homicides. Meg Neal, Popular Mechanics, "Nature's Toxic Gifts: The Deadly Story of Poison," 4 Oct. 2020 This could include whether co-workers made jokes about Politburo members or had a proclivity toward consumerism, which was considered decadent and not in keeping with a true communist cadre. Frank Jordans, Star Tribune, "From Communist cadre to Coca-Cola rep: An East German story," 2 Oct. 2020 Sprinkle in some decadent chocolate and sweet betrayals to get a full understanding as to why Like Water For Chocolate continues to be a sinful delight nearly three decades after its release. Rosy Cordero,, "Like Water For Chocolate stage adaptation in the works with original music by La Santa Cecilia," 1 Oct. 2020 My go-to recipe has a decadent coating of brown sugar, butter and vanilla extract. Daphne Sashin, CNN, "31 ways to celebrate Halloween this year," 1 Oct. 2020 Making a portion for yourself is just as legitimate as creating a decadent plate to be enjoyed with your roommates. Amanda Mitchell, Bon Appétit, "I Am Passionate About Snack Boards—and These Are My Rules," 1 Oct. 2020 That’s a classic move in American culture: To see the unschooled and homespun as more authentic — and especially as more authentically American — than the sophistries of those decadent old Europeans. Blake Gopnik, New York Times, "Early Works by Edward Hopper Found to Be Copies of Other Artists," 28 Sep. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Leaves die pretty and with finesse, a decadent unfurling into the other side of the veil. Junauda Petrus-nasah, Star Tribune, "Author Junauda Petrus-Nasah reflects on fall and the wild magic of leaves," 16 Sep. 2020 Tremont Tap House’s Duck Island Chili Cheese Fries come smothered with Duck Island chili sauce, melted beer cheddar cheese and scallions for a decadent, six-napkin treat. Joey Morona, cleveland, "13 restaurants with the best French Fries in Greater Cleveland," 9 Sep. 2020 Once the bread layers of the dessert are finished baking, the hands decorate the decadent-looking Oreo cake, which ultimately has Buffett's face on top. Dalvin Brown, USA TODAY, "Bill Gates honors Warren Buffett's 90th birthday with funny cake baking video," 30 Aug. 2020 Today, the label stocks cellars and steakhouses across the United States, a staple for those in pursuit of decadent, rich Cabernet Sauvignons. Esther Mobley,, "Silver Oak Winery: fancy new digs and a flagship location for Cabernet," 17 Jan. 2018 Prepare to impress: This decadent, over-the-top, and shockingly easy Pumpkin Spice Cake will make jaws drop everywhere. The Good Housekeeping Test Kitchen, Good Housekeeping, "The Best Pumpkin Spice Cake Ever," 8 July 2020 Skip the raisins and add a generous sprinkle of chocolate chips instead to make these vegan cookies extra decadent. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Woman's Day Kitchen, Woman's Day, "Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies," 14 Nov. 2019 Meals aboard range from simple and satisfying to full-on decadent — like grand cru wines and four-course meals on Barge Lady’s upper-end cruises, with ingredients guests sourced that day as the barge passed a market town or an artisanal cheesemaker. Elizabeth Heath, Washington Post, "Why this may be the moment for a micro cruise," 2 July 2020 Whipping up one of these decadent treats up at home will certainly put a smile on your face in this non-Derby, Derby week. Kathryn Gregory, The Courier-Journal, "It's 'Derby' week. Here are 3 Hot Brown recipes from Louisville restaurants to try at home," 29 Apr. 2020

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


1837, in the meaning defined at sense 2


1886, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for decadent

Adjective and Noun

back-formation from decadence

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Time Traveler for decadent

Time Traveler

The first known use of decadent was in 1837

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Statistics for decadent

Last Updated

16 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Decadent.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for decadent


How to pronounce decadent (audio)

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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