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 But do not mistake this for a triumph of character or decency. Nancy Armour, USA TODAY, "Opinion: Cold, hard cash, not character, made Daniel Snyder change Washington's NFL nickname," 14 July 2020 Carlson's attacks on the US senator, his literal questioning of her patriotism, should be considered far out of bounds by most reasonable standards of public decency. Oliver Darcy, CNN, "Analysis: Tucker Carlson's attempt to smear senator who lost both legs in Iraq War crosses the line," 8 July 2020 Each was fined the equivalent of $3,750 for outraging public decency. Fox News, "Italian beach nudists fined amid coronavirus enforcement," 8 July 2020 His talent will live on for a long time, but the loss of his kindness and decency leaves a hole in our hearts. Christian Holub,, "Rob Reiner, Alan Alda, more pay tribute to comedy legend Carl Reiner: 'He is irreplaceable'," 30 June 2020 The outrage about the lack of decency and the American double standard has now gone global in everyday life, including sport. Robin Wright, The New Yorker, "Fury at America and Its Values Spreads Globally," 1 June 2020 This bleak turn ties eerily back into Kim’s fundamental decency. Darren Franich,, "The death and life of the lawyer show," 18 June 2020 And look at the price LBJ paid for that act -- just the simple act of legislating decency. Corbett Smith, Dallas News, "Paul Quinn president: ‘All of us have an opportunity to make a real difference, but it’s a long fight’," 11 June 2020 Ms Ainsley identifies four key values that resonate with the new working class: family, fairness, hard work and decency. The Economist, "Bagehot Johnson and Starmer fight for the working-class vote," 11 June 2020

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

18 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Decency.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Aug. 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

Nglish: Translation of decency for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of decency for Arabic Speakers

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