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

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.
Recent Examples on the Web Hajichi was banned in 1899 as the Japanese government pushed assimilation and as new norms about public decency emerged during the time when the country opened to foreigners after more than 200 years of isolationist policies. Julia Mio Inuma, Washington Post, 25 July 2022 This kind of stolid American decency comes easily to him. Justin Changfilm Critic, Los Angeles Times, 27 June 2022 Two of Ireland's most celebrated writers, Oscar Wilde and James Joyce, were in their time pariahs and exiles, excoriated for outrages against what was then regarded as public decency. Maureen O'hare And Richard Quest, CNN, 24 June 2022 The exchange between cop and thief isn’t all Kum Ba Yah, but it is intended to signal Coughlin’s decency. Lisa Kennedy, Variety, 8 June 2022 But China’s threat to its people and to human decency can hardly be categorized as invisible. Olivia Enos, Forbes, 16 May 2022 Blatant anti-Semitism in any sphere of life affronts human decency and imperils American Jews. WSJ, 25 Jan. 2022 Mine is fractures with enough decency to come packed with straws and napkins. Kb Brookins, Chron, 22 July 2022 Only Pickering, the excellent Kevin Pariseau, survives with some decency. Chris Jones, Chicago Tribune, 30 June 2022 See More

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.

First Known Use of decency

1567, in the meaning defined at sense 5a

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The first known use of decency was in 1567

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Last Updated

12 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Decency.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for decency


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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