de·​co·​rum | \ di-ˈkȯr-əm How to pronounce decorum (audio) \

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



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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 Respectability politics and an emphasis on rigid social codes of decorum created a widening fissure between Black churches. Erica Armstrong Dunbar, The New York Review of Books, "A Praise House of Many Mansions," 13 Apr. 2021 Under Trump, once-unimaginable shocks, outrages, and demolitions of norms and decorum were routinely eclipsed by even greater ones just a day or two later, and sometimes sooner. Howard W. French, The New York Review of Books, "Can America Remain Preeminent?," 13 Apr. 2021 Instead, even my favorite performances of the night—Bad Bunny, HAIM, Dua Lipa, Mickey Guyton, Brandi Carlile honoring John Prine—seemed vaguely haunted by the proximity of the convention center and its spirit of professional decorum. Amanda Petrusich, The New Yorker, "The 2021 Grammys Tried Hard," 15 Mar. 2021 Black women fought these images by presenting themselves with respectability and decorum. Janette Greenwood, The Conversation, "How Black Americans used portraits and family photographs to defy stereotypes," 8 Mar. 2021 In just hours, norms were shattered in a place devoted to history and decorum; and the inauguration had to be reimagined yet again. Roxanne Roberts, Anchorage Daily News, "A transfer of power like no other, at a time like no other in U.S. history," 13 Jan. 2021 She’s not someone conditioned to hold back for the sake of decorum. Alan Sepinwall, Rolling Stone, "Oprah’s Interview with Harry and Meghan Dragged the Monarchy, Made for Great TV," 8 Mar. 2021 That drew a sharp rebuke from Nelson, who asked that Torres Ray's remarks be stricken from the record, noting that Senate rules of decorum that say members should not cast aspersions on the motives of their colleagues during debates. Steve Karnowski, Star Tribune, "Senate vote to reopen schools lays out partisan divide," 18 Feb. 2021 Biden, a man of courtesy and diplomatic decorum, was quick to get Trudeau on the phone and assure Canadians that friendships across the vast (and Covid-closed) border are back on track. Stephen Collinson, CNN, "What Justin Trudeau needs from Joe Biden now," 23 Feb. 2021

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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Time Traveler for decorum

Time Traveler

The first known use of decorum was in 1568

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Statistics for decorum

Last Updated

9 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Decorum.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for decorum



English Language Learners Definition of decorum

formal : correct or proper behavior that shows respect and good manners


de·​co·​rum | \ di-ˈkȯr-əm How to pronounce decorum (audio) \

Kids Definition of decorum

: proper behavior Grandpa insisted on decorum during the ceremony.

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