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

While there is no national law regarding punishment if proper decorum is not observed during the playing of the Anthem, there are established rules of conduct. Jill Gleeson, Country Living, "National Anthem Etiquette: How to Properly Honor 'The Star-Spangled Banner'," 5 Nov. 2018 Russian lawmakers skipped decorum, bluntly accusing the U.S. of sponsoring the drone attack. Vladimir Isachenkov, Houston Chronicle, "Russian gains in Syria threatened by series of rebel attacks," 10 Jan. 2018 Some schools, like Florida International University, have boilerplate language for decorum among graduates and guests. Colleen Wright, miamiherald, "Dancing, selfies, a backflip? Schools lay out the do's and don'ts of graduation | Miami Herald," 12 May 2018 But disagreement is generally done with a certain decorum. Jennifer Peltz, The Seattle Times, "Trump at UN Security Council: ‘Most watched meeting ever’?," 26 Sep. 2018 For all the angst that evening, Wilkinson said, everything had taken place with decorum. Author: Avi Selk, Sarah Murray, Anchorage Daily News, "Why a small-town restaurant owner asked Sarah Huckabee Sanders to leave - and says she would do it again," 24 June 2018 For all the angst that evening, Wilkinson said, everything had taken place with decorum. Sarah Murray,, "Why a small-town restaurant owner asked Sarah Huckabee Sanders to leave — and would do it again," 24 June 2018 But the fact that the General Assembly's decorum was totally broken as a result of him just saying so means that Donald Trump isn’t just our Large Idiot President: He’s seen by the world as a laughing stock undeserving of respect. Cady Drell, Marie Claire, "The U.N. General Assembly Just Laughed in Trump's Face," 25 Sep. 2018 Over the years, Feinstein has developed a reputation for her preference of decorum and discretion. Kathleen Ronayne, The Seattle Times, "Feinstein’s re-election opponent criticizes her over letter," 18 Sep. 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

3 Jan 2019

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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).


to gather or build up little by little

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