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

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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 Doug Jones of Alabama and Mitt Romney of Utah as further examples of politicians showing decency and patriotism. Madison Dibble, Washington Examiner, "Klobuchar says 2020 election ‘a patriotism check’ for Trump supporters," 10 Feb. 2020 Public decency and morality laws are taken seriously here. Jenna Scatena, Condé Nast Traveler, "Visiting Abu Dhabi: What to Know Before You Go," 11 Nov. 2019 To family and friends, she was known as Bea Kristol, and embodied character and decency, good humor, and good sense. Yuval Levin, National Review, "The Historian as Moralist," 31 Dec. 2019 Baker suggests responding with grace, decency, and fact. David Rohde, The New Yorker, "Public Servants Versus Donald Trump," 14 Oct. 2019 The fact that multiple officials conferenced and still made a decision so lacking in common sense and even basic human decency is a level of judgment so poor that their competency should be questioned. Gary Gramling,, "The Essence of Cousins Vs. Trubisky and A Very Daniel Jones Encore," 29 Sep. 2019 So the single defining issue in the election that is the common denominator for all others is the concept of decency, honesty and civil behavior. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Your Say: Election 2020 priorities," 2 Aug. 2019 Rhys gives a finely textured performance, capturing the essential decency of a guy who’s often kind of a jerk. Stephanie Zacharek, Time, "A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood," 22 Nov. 2019 Today’s politics could use a return to the personal decency and principled bipartisanship of Edwards, a man who didn’t stray far from his conservative beliefs but still worked to find common ground. J.d. Crowe |, al, "Now more than ever, we need another Jack Edwards," 30 Sep. 2019

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

17 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Decency.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for decency


How to pronounce decency (audio)

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.

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More from Merriam-Webster on decency

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for decency

Spanish Central: Translation of decency

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Britannica English: Translation of decency for Arabic Speakers

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