de·​cent ˈdē-sᵊnt How to pronounce decent (audio)
: marked by moral integrity, kindness, and goodwill
hard-working and decent folks
it's very decent of them to help
: conforming to standards of propriety, good taste, or morality
decent behavior
: modestly clothed
: free from immodesty or obscenity
decent language
: fairly good : adequate, satisfactory
decent wages
: well-formed : handsome
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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web This coffee maker is adorable and a decent pick for those looking for a basic option. Nor'adila Hepburn, Better Homes & Gardens, 16 Nov. 2023 The analysts say that 2024 margin targets are decent, though the operating margin target of 23.6% is lower than the 24.6% margin achieved in fiscal 2023. WSJ, 15 Nov. 2023 For now, the Steam Deck OLED still does a decent job of balancing the competing demands of game compatibility, price point, battery life, and form factor. Kyle Orland, Ars Technica, 14 Nov. 2023 Sunshine and average temperatures Saturday will create a decent day for any outdoor plans. A. Camden Walker, Washington Post, 10 Nov. 2023 It's got a nice set of internal organization options, a decent size hipbelt for this size pack, and Deuter's trademark venting system to keep your back cool. WIRED, 10 Nov. 2023 Justin Torres has a decent excuse for taking 12 years to write his second book. Jeremy Childs, Los Angeles Times, 9 Nov. 2023 But finding a decent JBL headphones deal is nearly impossible to come by. Anna Tingley, Variety, 8 Nov. 2023 This points to a couple things: TV has yielded a surprising number of really decent rom-coms in recent years, and Colin From Accounts — though not as good as the peaks in this genre — is part of that pack. Daniel Fienberg, The Hollywood Reporter, 8 Nov. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'decent.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

1539, in the meaning defined at sense 5a

Time Traveler
The first known use of decent was in 1539

Dictionary Entries Near decent

Cite this Entry

“Decent.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Nov. 2023.

Kids Definition


de·​cent ˈdēs-ᵊnt How to pronounce decent (audio)
: agreeing with standards of proper behavior, good taste, or morality
: clothed in a proper and suitable manner and style
: free from poor taste or bad manners
our conversations were always decent, never obscene
: fairly good : adequate
decent housing
decently adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on decent

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