de·​co·​rum | \di-ˈkȯr-əm \

Definition of decorum 

1 : literary and dramatic propriety : fitness according to strict neoclassic decorum only the aristocracy had the right to appear in tragedy— Irving Babbitt

2 : propriety and good taste in conduct or appearance strict in her notions of decorum— Jane Austen

3 : orderliness the organization's decorum has rarely been shaken— W. F. Longgood

4 decorums plural : the conventions of polite behavior the established sobrieties and decorums of English life— H. G. Wells

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Synonyms & Antonyms for decorum


decency, form, propriety


impropriety, indecency, indecorum

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Examples of decorum in a Sentence

He has no sense of decorum. high standards of decorum are usually required when attending the opera

Recent Examples on the Web

It’s not written down anywhere, but some modicum of decorum is expected with that pass. Chad Pergram, Fox News, "Immigration fight is no picnic: Reps brawl, Dems jeer and cops search for Trump-accosting intern," 21 June 2018 Days afterward, Montgomery County issued a new decorum order that banned news conferences from the steps leading up to the courthouse, the ramp leading to the courthouse, or any entrance door to the courthouse. Eric Levenson, CNN, "Bill Cosby's trial pushes to its finale after a newsworthy two weeks," 22 Apr. 2018 Though the Senate unanimously agreed to the rule change, there were those that feared allowing an infant into the World’s Greatest Deliberative Body would disrupt decorum. Steve Kurtz, Fox News, "A history of (cry) babies on the Senate floor," 20 Apr. 2018 There are still plenty of folks who once lived in a time of decorum when women wore hats and gloves when out and people communicated by writing letters. Jennifer Winward, Anchorage Daily News, "Five old-school skills that kids should learn from their grandparents instead of YouTube," 26 June 2018 From the get-go, there was a parallel world of decorum bordering on formality, as seen in Chase's paintings of women walking across the dunes in long white dresses and men sporting straw boaters and bowties. Steven Stolman, Town & Country, "High Society Photographer Bert Morgan Chronicled the Hamptons' Smart Set Before Everything Changed," 13 June 2018 More important is the AfD’s willingness to bend or even break unofficial rules of decorum. Griff Witte, Washington Post, "The far right is back in the German parliament, bringing taunts, insults and laughter," 8 June 2018 Still, this is the way of baseball, a sport that frustratingly conducts itself at times with the solemnity and forced decorum of a Senate subcommittee hearing. Jon Tayler,, "Twins Mad at Orioles' Chance Sisco Over Ninth-Inning Bunt in Dumb Unwritten Rules Flap," 2 Apr. 2018 Mexican muralism banished tasteful public decorum for blunt social agitation, essential to its Great Depression era. Christopher Knight,, "'Made in L.A. 2018': Why the Hammer biennial is the right show for disturbing times," 5 June 2018

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

1568, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for decorum

Latin, from neuter of decorus — see decorous

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Statistics for decorum

Last Updated

24 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for decorum

The first known use of decorum was in 1568

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English Language Learners Definition of decorum

: correct or proper behavior that shows respect and good manners


de·​co·​rum | \di-ˈkȯr-əm \

Kids Definition of decorum

: proper behavior Grandpa insisted on decorum during the ceremony.

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Comments on decorum

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


obstinately defiant of authority

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