de·​cen·​cy | \ ˈdē-sᵊn-sē How to pronounce decency (audio) \
plural decencies

Definition of decency

1a : the quality or state of being decent : propriety
b : conformity to standards of taste, propriety, or quality
2 : standard of propriety usually used in plural
3 decencies plural : conditions or services considered essential for a proper standard of living
4 : literary decorum
5 archaic
a : fitness

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Synonyms & Antonyms for decency



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Examples of decency in a Sentence

Decency, not fear of punishment, caused them to do the right thing. Sending aid to the victims was simply a matter of common decency. If you're going to be late, please have the decency to call and let me know. Have you no sense of decency? He had been taught to observe the ordinary decencies.
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Recent Examples on the Web Carlson, too, long ago abandoned any semblance of decency. Megan Garber, The Atlantic, 12 July 2021 In the aggregate, Zeus suggests a language disassociated from the politics of basic decency. Jason Parham, Wired, 9 July 2021 Basic human decency is just the starting point of our survival. oregonlive, 2 July 2021 Did a run for ratings get the better of human decency? Lee Igel, Forbes, 16 June 2021 Schlock will do its best to fill the void, but artistic merit can’t be allowed to trump human decency in a collaborative art form. Los Angeles Times, 18 Apr. 2021 The failure to see even the nearer implications isn’t merely a matter of aesthetics or psychology but of basic decency. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, 2 Apr. 2021 Honoring their identify preferences — including pronouns — is basic human decency. Eric Zorn,, 1 Apr. 2021 But the essential truth of Cleary's adventurousness, love, and simple human decency lives on, and as long as there are children, her books will have a grateful audience. Gregory Mcnamee, CNN, 27 Mar. 2021

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

1567, in the meaning defined at sense 5a

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Time Traveler for decency

Time Traveler

The first known use of decency was in 1567

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Statistics for decency

Last Updated

19 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Decency.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Jul. 2021.

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More Definitions for decency



English Language Learners Definition of decency

: polite, moral, and honest behavior and attitudes that show respect for other people
formal : the behaviors that people in a society consider to be proper or acceptable


de·​cen·​cy | \ ˈdē-sᵊn-sē How to pronounce decency (audio) \
plural decencies

Kids Definition of decency

: a way or habit of behaving with good manners or good morals Show some decency and apologize.

More from Merriam-Webster on decency

Nglish: Translation of decency for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of decency for Arabic Speakers


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