Synonyms & Antonyms of decadence

2 a sinking to a state of low moral standards and behavior
  • clergymen striving to combat decadence and sin in their communities

Synonyms for decadence

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Frequently Asked Questions About decadence

How does the noun decadence differ from other similar words?

Some common synonyms of decadence are decline, degeneration, and deterioration. While all these words mean "the falling from a higher to a lower level in quality, character, or vitality," decadence presupposes a reaching and passing the peak of development and implies a turn downward with a consequent loss in vitality or energy.

cited love of luxury as a sign of cultural decadence

How are the words decline and decadence related?

Decline differs from decadence in suggesting a more markedly downward direction and greater momentum as well as more obvious evidence of deterioration.

the meteoric decline of his career after the scandal

When could degeneration be used to replace decadence?

The words degeneration and decadence can be used in similar contexts, but degeneration stresses physical, intellectual, or especially moral retrogression.

the degeneration of their youthful idealism into cynicism

When might deterioration be a better fit than decadence?

The words deterioration and decadence are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, deterioration implies generally the impairment of value or usefulness.

the deterioration of the house through neglect

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The first known use of decadence was in 1530

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Cite this Entry

“Decadence.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Sep. 2021.

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More from Merriam-Webster on decadence

Nglish: Translation of decadence for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of decadence for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about decadence


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