dec·​a·​dent | \ ˈde-kə-dənt How to pronounce decadent (audio) also di-ˈkā- \

Essential Meaning of decadent

1 disapproving : having low morals and a great love of pleasure, money, fame, etc. The book condemns some of society's wealthiest members as decadent fools.
2 : attractive to people of low morals who are only interested in pleasure the city's decadent nightclubs
3 : extremely pleasing a wealthy and decadent lifestyle the restaurant's decadent desserts See More Examplesrich, decadent pastries a decadent hotel room, complete with a hot tub We relaxed in decadent luxury.Hide

Full Definition of decadent

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : characterized by or appealing to self-indulgence a rich and decadent dessert the hotel's decadent luxury
2 : marked by decay or decline an increasingly decadent society
3 literature : of, relating to, or having the characteristics of a group of late 19th century French and English writers tending toward artificial and unconventional subjects and subtilized style : of, relating to, or having the characteristics of the decadents (see decadent entry 2 sense 1)



Definition of decadent (Entry 2 of 2)

1 literature : one of a group of late 19th century French and English writers tending toward artificial and unconventional subjects and subtilized style
2 : one that is marked by decay or decline : one that is decadent (see decadent entry 1 sense 2)

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Other Words from decadent


decadently adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for decadent

Synonyms: Adjective

Synonyms: Noun

Antonyms: Adjective

  • undecadent
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To be decadent is to be in the process of decay, so a powerful nation may be said to be in a decadent stage if its power is fading. But the word is more often used to speak of moral decay. Ever since the Roman empire, we've tended to link Rome's fall to the moral decay of its ruling class, who indulged in extreme luxuries and unwholesome pleasures while providing the public with cruel spectacles such as the slaughter of the gladiators. But not everyone agrees on what moral decadence looks like (or even how it might have hastened the fall of Rome), though most people think it involves too many sensual pleasures—as, for instance, among the French and English poets and artists of the 1880s and ʼ90s called the Decadents. These days, for some reason, people have decided decadent is the way to describe rich chocolate cakes.

Examples of decadent in a Sentence

Adjective The book condemns some of society's wealthiest members as decadent fools. a wealthy and decadent lifestyle a decadent hotel room, complete with a hot tub We relaxed in decadent luxury. Noun avant-garde artists who were scorned by the bourgeoisie as talentless decadents a decadent who squandered her once considerable family fortune
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Once again, Kelis shows up out of nowhere with a decadent, addictive treat. Alex Suskind,, 8 Oct. 2021 In a decadent library with more than 14,000 books, there are also plush beanbag chairs. Cailey Rizzo, Travel + Leisure, 6 Oct. 2021 This decadent body butter delicately perfumed with Oribe's signature scent. Karina Hoshikawa,, 4 Oct. 2021 That’s why millions of visitors descend upon the Mediterranean country every year: to savor its decadent cuisine, shop its leading-edge fashion, and get creatively inspired by its dynamic design and architecture community. Paul Jebara, Forbes, 30 Sep. 2021 Gencarelli is best known for the decadent sandwiches at Lardo, which started as a food cart just up Southeast Belmont Street back in 2010. Michael Russell, oregonlive, 29 Sep. 2021 When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, the decadent Georgia spa town of Tskaltubo fell off the map. Jamie Ditaranto, Condé Nast Traveler, 28 Sep. 2021 The gorgeous outdoor setup, nestled on a hill and adjacent to the Museum of the Roman Republic and Garibaldi Remembrance, was host to a wonderfully decadent truffle interpretation of the celebrated egg yolk dish. Joey Skladany,, 27 Sep. 2021 The decadent cream wraps skin in coddling moisture, while the formula lifts, tightens, and tones over time. Jenna Rosenstein, Harper's BAZAAR, 27 Sep. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The decadent, three-layer(!) sweet potato cake with salted cream cheese frosting that makes for a show-stopping dessert centerpiece. Mehreen Karim, Bon Appétit, 9 Oct. 2021 Franklin can be seen on-screen in the most decadent of garb, draped in furs, diamonds, luxury handbags, and handmade gowns. Eliza Huber,, 13 Aug. 2021 Working with her stylist Brett Alan Nelson, Lizzo appears first in a draped golden gown and dripping in enough chunky gold jewelry to dazzle even the most decadent of Greek rulers. Liam Hess, Vogue, 13 Aug. 2021 The top large-ship line for 2021 was Seabourn, which readers said seamlessly delivered a decadent on-board experience on all five of its ships around the world. Paul Brady, Travel + Leisure, 8 Sep. 2021 If couture season is typically something of a decadent enigma, the series of beauty looks that punctuated the post-pandemic parade were a treat in the truest sense. Calin Van Paris, Vogue, 16 July 2021 There are 111 rooms and 19 suites, the most decadent of which feature multi-floor layouts, chandeliers, and 360-degree views of the city. Cailey Rizzo, Travel + Leisure, 29 June 2021 Help him make time (and the appointment) by booking him a decadent, mind and body-focused massage in a beautiful setting. Margaux Lushing, Forbes, 16 June 2021 But many found her work decadent, scandalous — and not great literature., 23 June 2021

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


1837, in the meaning defined at sense 2


1886, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for decadent

Adjective and Noun

back-formation from decadence

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Time Traveler for decadent

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The first known use of decadent was in 1837

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Last Updated

17 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Decadent.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Oct. 2021.

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More from Merriam-Webster on decadent

Nglish: Translation of decadent for Spanish Speakers

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


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