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 From sweet and spicy to just plain decadent, here are 16 unique hot chocolates that are worth your time — and the calories. Sarah Kuta, The Know, "16 over-the-top Colorado hot chocolates — some packed with booze — to get you through the winter," 18 Dec. 2019 Day 1: History and some indulgent eats Start your day off at Pergamino Café, a Medellín establishment of sorts, for an excellent cup of coffee and a decadent pastry (get the almond croissant). Ariana Marsh, Condé Nast Traveler, "3 Days in Medellín, Colombia," 16 Apr. 2018 Sunday Breakfast Backroads Coffee and Tea is a local micro-roastery with decadent morning pastries best enjoyed in one of their comfy chairs., Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Two Days to Explore: Hayward," 4 Jan. 2018 Colossal Cupcakes Downtown Cleveland’s Colossal Cupcakes offers takeout and delivery of its massive, decadent cupcakes in many different flavors throughout the coronavirus pandemic. Anne Nickoloff, cleveland, "23 places in Greater Cleveland to get sweet treats for Mother’s Day," 6 May 2020 Phoenix Beckett’s Table Order a decadent take-and-heat brunch that feeds 4 ($125). Georgann Yara, azcentral, "Mother's Day: Here are 31 restaurants for takeout brunch and dinner in metro Phoenix," 5 May 2020 If Friday is a satisfying board game snack, Mage Knight is a huge Thanksgiving meal followed by a decadent dessert—and then by a course of leftover turkey sandwiches. Aaron Zimmerman, Dan Thurot, Ars Technica, "The best board games to play with your quarantined housemates," 26 Apr. 2020 The introduction of the pistol stabilizing brace deserves full credit for the surge in popularity of this once decadent variant of the AR-15. Chris Mudgett, Outdoor Life, "7 Things You Need to Know Before Buying an AR Pistol," 16 Apr. 2020 The movie's backdrop is a delightfully decadent swirl of sherbet hues, frilly drapery, and sunlit enfilades. Mary Elizabeth Andriotis, House Beautiful, "Good News: You Can Recreate a Scene From "Emma" With This Wallpaper," 1 Apr. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun 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 The result: a decadent, yet still virtuous, cookie that’s also breakfast. New York Times, "T’s Guide to Staying at Home, and Making the Best of It," 19 Mar. 2020 Still, the power of the show flows just as much through its imagery—a decadent, unashamedly voyeuristic vision of athletic beauty, with a hallucinogenic verve that keeps it from becoming cheesy. Emily Nussbaum, The New Yorker, "Uncertain Attraction in “Work in Progress” and “Dare Me”," 16 Dec. 2019 On the food front, Puebla is noted as the birthplace of the decadent and spicy mole poblano, which is readily available from a number of local restaurants for your own culinary research. Valerie Marino, Condé Nast Traveler, "The Best Cities in the World: 2019 Readers' Choice Awards," 7 Oct. 2019 The resulting crust is incredibly flaky and Sussman’s smoky eggplant filling decadent. Los Angeles Times, "New Israeli recipes for Rosh Hashana from Adeena Sussman," 22 Sep. 2019 What to eat: At the Glisan location, try the decadent Migration Burger, with arugula, chili jam, prosciutto, blue cheese and aioli. Andre Meunier, oregonlive, "From big expansion to big honors, Migration is on the move: Portland Breweries Series," 9 Oct. 2019 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

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

25 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Decadent.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 31 May. 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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