decent

adjective de·cent \ ˈdē-sᵊnt \
Updated on: 11 Nov 2017

Definition of decent

1 archaic
b : well-formed : handsome
2 a : 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

decently

adverb

Examples of decent in a Sentence

  1. 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 McManusNew York Times Book Review26 Apr. 2009
  2. 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.People22 Dec. 2008
  3. 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 JustForgetfulness(2006) 2007
  4. 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 McFedriesWord Spy2004
  5. I don't understand how so decent a person could be involved with this kind of crime.

  6. He is a decent guy who would help anyone in need.

  7. You need to do the decent thing and tell her what happened.

  8. Are there any decent schools in that area?

  9. I've got to get some decent clothes.

Recent Examples of decent from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of 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

Synonym Discussion of 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


DECENT Defined for English Language Learners

decent

adjective

Definition of decent for English Language Learners

  • : 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


DECENT Defined for Kids

decent

adjective de·cent \ ˈdē-sᵊnt \

Definition of decent for Students

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

decently

adverb


Seen and Heard

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

WORD OF THE DAY

food, provisions, or a tasty dish

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Find the Cousins

  • a-large-tree-with-many-branches
  • Which pair shares a common word ancestor?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!