de·cent | \ ˈdē-sᵊnt \

Definition of decent 

1 archaic

a : appropriate

b : well-formed : handsome

2a : conforming to standards of propriety, good taste, or morality decent behavior

b : modestly clothed

3 : free from immodesty or obscenity decent language

4 : fairly good : adequate, satisfactory decent wages

5 : marked by moral integrity, kindness, and goodwill hard-working and decent folks it's very decent of them to help

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Other words from decent

decently adverb

Choose the Right Synonym for decent

chaste, pure, modest, decent mean free from all taint of what is lewd or salacious. chaste primarily implies a refraining from acts or even thoughts or desires that are not virginal or not sanctioned by marriage vows. they maintained chaste relations pure differs from chaste in implying innocence and absence of temptation rather than control of one's impulses and actions. the pure of heart modest and decent apply especially to deportment and dress as outward signs of inward chastity or purity. preferred more modest swimsuits decent people didn't go to such movies

Examples of decent in a Sentence

Not long afterward, his father's health starts to fail. Mrs. Queenan has kicked him out, and he's landed in a flophouse. When word reaches Joe, he takes out his checkbook and moves his father into a decent apartment. —James McManus, New York Times Book Review, 26 Apr. 2009 In a whiney, rambling speech at his sentencing he took a page from the script of the earlier case, once again portraying himself as a flawed but decent man unfairly caught up in circumstances. —Bill Hewitt et al., People, 22 Dec. 2008 Tommy Railles, the doctor's boy. Just a great kid. Smart at school, a decent athlete, great with the girls, wonderful with older people. —Ward Just, Forgetfulness, (2006) 2007 The next time an overly friendly blond sidles up in a crowded bar and asks you to order her a brand-name martini, or a cheery tourist couple wonder whether you can take their picture with their sleek new camera-in-a-cell phone, you might want to think twice. There's a decent chance that these strangers are pitchmen in disguise, paid to oh-so-subtly pique your interest in their product. —Paul McFedries, Word Spy, 2004 I don't understand how so decent a person could be involved with this kind of crime. He is a decent guy who would help anyone in need. You need to do the decent thing and tell her what happened. Are there any decent schools in that area? I've got to get some decent clothes.
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Recent Examples on the Web

The path outlined by progressive trade analysts would create global labor standards, with decent wages and working conditions and health safeguards, adjusting for the level of development in a particular country. David Dayen, The New Republic, "The Inevitable Death of Global Trade As We Know It," 12 July 2018 Travis Wear Unrestricted / Power Forward / 6-10 / Team: Los Angeles Lakers 4.4 ppg, 2.2 rpg Big man with a decent three-point shot as a career 36.4 percent shooter from the outside. azcentral, "Ranking top power forwards in NBA free agency: Aaron Gordon, Julius Randle, Derrick Favors lead list," 28 June 2018 The Warriors, in all their underperforming glory, still have a decent shot at becoming a dynasty. Nathaniel Friedman, GQ, "NBA Finals: When the Best Player in the World Goes Up Against the Best Team," 31 May 2018 The Jets did not draft a linebacker this year, giving Wint a decent shot at making the roster as a backup and a special-teamer. Walter Villa, miamiherald, "This FIU Panthers second baseman has found his power stroke at the right time | Miami Herald," 14 May 2018 Just as obvious is the Warriors are so good - their second five would have a decent shot at being an Eastern Conference playoff team - clearly don't need any help. Ron Higgins,, "Warriors don't need 'extra' help to beat Pelicans," 3 May 2018 Why can’t decent people have fulfilling character arcs? Caroline Framke, Vox, "The Simpsons responds to Apu controversy with a shrug about political correctness," 9 Apr. 2018 This, as any half-decent writer can tell you, is a talent that is extremely easy to abuse. Laurie Penny, Longreads, "Peterson’s Complaint," 12 July 2018 And most of these deals just so happen to be decent ideas for things to get Dad. 1. Samantha Gordon, USA TODAY, "These are the 5 best deals on Amazon right now," 14 June 2018

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

1539, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for decent

Middle French or Latin; Middle French, from Latin decent-, decens, present participle of decēre to be fitting; akin to Latin decus honor, dignus worthy, Greek dokein to seem, seem good

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Phrases Related to decent

halfway decent

Statistics for decent

Last Updated

18 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for decent

The first known use of decent was in 1539

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More Definitions for decent



English Language Learners Definition of decent

: polite, moral, and honest

: showing kindness : seeming to care about the feelings or problems of other people

: good enough but not the best : adequate or acceptable


de·cent | \ ˈdē-sᵊnt \

Kids Definition of decent

1 : meeting an accepted standard of good manners or morality Do the decent thing and confess.

2 : being moral and good She was raised by decent folks.

3 : not offensive decent language

4 : fairly good decent grades

Other words from decent

decently adverb

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Comments on decent

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a magnificent or impressive array

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