de·​ce·​dent | \ di-ˈsē-dᵊnt How to pronounce decedent (audio) \

Definition of decedent

: a person who is no longer living : a deceased person the estate of the decedent

Examples of decedent in a Sentence

a tax on the estate of the decedent
Recent Examples on the Web Health authorities in Santa Clara County did not identify Dowd by name, describing the decedent as a 57-year-old woman who died at home. Matt Hamilton, Los Angeles Times, "A healthy woman suddenly died. She was the first known coronavirus fatality in the U.S.," 22 Apr. 2020 Professor Penepent gives each decedent a tracking number to monitor the body from the funeral home to the crematory and back again. New York Times, "The Mortuary Science Professor Who Came ‘Out of Nowhere’ to Help N.Y.C.," 22 Apr. 2020 The same is true for a decedent’s tangible personal property. Virginia Hammerle, Dallas News, "Three things to do on the death of a loved one," 10 Apr. 2020 The Ratterman & Sons Funeral Home hasn't seen an uptick in decedents impacted by the coronavirus, Ratterman said, but the outbreak has had other impacts on the business. Lucas Aulbach, The Courier-Journal, "How Louisville funeral homes are reacting to coronavirus guidelines on gatherings," 16 Mar. 2020 Biden’s plan also seeks to eliminate a feature of the tax code that prevents heirs from being taxed on the increase in assets that occurred during the decedent's life. Jay Heflin, Washington Examiner, "Biden tax plan would raise $4 trillion, more than twice the hike proposed by Clinton in 2016," 5 Mar. 2020 Bodies were buried by strangers in mass graves while the decedents' families remained detained under martial law, said Scott Ellsworth, a University of Michigan historian who has worked on the recovery of the Tulsa riot graves for decades. Elizabeth Wolfe And Saeed Ahmed, CNN, "An investigation has revealed what may be 2 mass grave sites from the 1921 Tulsa race riots," 17 Dec. 2019 Once the will is determined to be valid, the executor named by the decedent would be officially appointed to divide up their estate. Chris Dolmetschbloomberg, Los Angeles Times, "The next Jeffrey Epstein drama: fighting over his mysterious estate," 12 Aug. 2019 Edgewood Road A resident came to the police station on Dec. 4 to report unwanted phone calls from Ascension Point decedent debt recovery services. Thomas Jewell, cleveland, "Tempers flare at closed Brainard Circle: Pepper Pike Police Blotter," 13 Dec. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'decedent.' 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 decedent

1599, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for decedent

Latin decedent-, decedens, present participle of decedere — see decease

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Time Traveler for decedent

Time Traveler

The first known use of decedent was in 1599

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Statistics for decedent

Last Updated

15 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Decedent.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for decedent



Financial Definition of decedent

What It Is

In legal terms, a decedent is a dead person.

How It Works

Let's say John Doe dies this year. He is a decedent. His will and trust enabled him to direct what happened to his possessions and his money. The legal proceedings associated with settling his estate will refer to John Doe as the decedent.

Why It Matters

From a financial perspective, decedents don't stop existing after they die. Their estates still have to file a tax return for the year in which the decedent died, for one thing.

Establishing a trust often reduces estate taxes because it allows a person to transfer legal title of his or her property to another person while he or she is alive. It also gives the trustee (the person acting on behalf of the decedent) the authority to distribute assets immediately to the beneficiaries based on the terms of the trust. No court is involved, so there are no probate fees and no public record of the value of the estate. Many financial advisors urge clients to have trusts, especially those who live in states where probate fees are especially high or if the client owns a home or real estate. Trusts are not for everyone, however, so it is important to seek proper financial advice.

Source: Investing Answers


How to pronounce decedent (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of decedent

US, law : a dead person


de·​ce·​dent | \ di-ˈsē-dᵊnt How to pronounce decedent (audio) \

Kids Definition of decedent

: a dead person

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de·​ce·​dent | \ di-ˈsēd-ᵊnt How to pronounce decedent (audio) \

Medical Definition of decedent

: a deceased person used chiefly in law


de·​ce·​dent | \ di-ˈsēd-ᵊnt How to pronounce decedent (audio) \

Legal Definition of decedent

: a deceased person the estate of the decedent

History and Etymology for decedent

Latin decedent-, decedens, present participle of decedere to depart, die

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More from Merriam-Webster on decedent

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for decedent

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with decedent

Britannica English: Translation of decedent for Arabic Speakers

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