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

In response, decent, smart people were trying their utmost to help them. Rhonda Garelick, The Cut, "The Thai Cave Rescue Cannot Save Us From National Shame," 11 July 2018 Smith: The course is affordable and was in decent shape, but par-33 on the back nine? Scott Hanson, The Seattle Times, "Teeing off: The food’s great at historic Jefferson Park Golf Course, but there aren’t many memorable holes," 9 July 2018 The lawsuit says that Richardson, a 52-year-old African-American, and Yanagi, a 58-year-old man of Japanese decent, were the team's assistant video director and video operations director. Kirkland Crawford, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Lions sued by 2 ex-employees claiming race, age discrimination," 8 May 2018 If Josh Gordon passes all his drug tests, the Browns are in decent shape at wide receiver with Jarvis Landry, Corey Coleman and Jeff Janis. Terry Pluto,, "Cleveland Browns Draft Scribbles: Considering some rumors -- Terry Pluto (video)," 26 Apr. 2018 That started a stretch of decent to questionable first-round picks that’s included right tackle Ja’Wuan James (2014), Parker (2015), Tunsil (2016) and defensive end Charles Harris (2017). Chris Perkins,, "Dolphins have been relatively successful with draft-and-develop strategy recently," 18 Apr. 2018 Now, if those are the two distances that attract the most horses then how thin must the horse population be when Los Al has struggled having decent size fields? John Cherwa,, "Racing! Los Alamitos dealing with small fields," 9 July 2018 People’s lives have been changed for the better because eight families [38 people] now live in decent homes with access to clean water, improved sanitation, and renewable energy. Justice Ilevbare, The Christian Science Monitor, "One company's plan to create affordable green housing in Nigeria," 14 June 2018 And one in which you, as someone who once dated this very famous person, will be under a decent amount of scrutiny?, "Two Of Prince Harry’s Exes Were At His Wedding — & They Looked Fantastic," 19 May 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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Statistics for decent

Last Updated

13 Nov 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

What made you want to look up decent? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


something that serves to warn or remind

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