Definition of decadent in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˈdɛkəd(ə)nt/


1Characterized by or reflecting a state of moral or cultural decline: a decaying, decadent Britain
More example sentences
  • History tells us that decadent cultures which have lost the will to fight do not survive.
  • Those values have more or less passed away, during this decadent cultural period in which we have lived.
  • These people - philosophers like Nietzsche - fantasised that violence would purify our culture of decadent and degenerate forces.
dissolute, dissipated, degenerate, corrupt, depraved, louche, rakish, shameless, sinful, unprincipled, immoral, licentious, wanton, abandoned, unrestrained, profligate, intemperate, fast-living;
sybaritic, voluptuary, epicurean, hedonistic, pleasure-seeking, indulgent, self-indulgent
1.1Luxuriously self-indulgent: a decadent soak in a scented bath
More example sentences
  • Fabrics and colours are luxuriously decadent: red felt, magenta georgette, misty grey mohair, powdery blue sheepskin and sequinned fleece knits.
  • Hearst was famous for taking various famous friends out for decadent cruises on his luxurious boat.
  • The heavy atmosphere of the luxurious furnishings sets a decadent mood.


1A person who is luxuriously self-indulgent: for half a million dollars, he offers rich decadents the chance to lead a deadly safari
More example sentences
  • The story concerns a dissolute decadent who is enchanted with his beloved, Alicia's, form, but who detests what he considers to be the frivolity and shallowness of her personality.
  • Fran Landesman is still the poet laureate of lovers and losers: her songs are the secret diaries of the desperate and the decadent.
  • Single cream or pouring cream is used for enriching and finishing sauces, soups, stews, desserts and coffee or cereals for the decadent.
1.1 (often Decadent) A member of a group of late 19th-century French and English poets associated with the Aesthetic Movement.
Example sentences
  • Pater's descriptions opened the eyes of the English decadents to the painter's enigmatic beauty, and he became a cult figure.
  • She had little formal education but travelled widely in Europe where her somewhat dramatic taste led to an interest in Italian Mannerism, German Romanticism, Pre-Raphaelitism, and the decadents.
  • His Swan Lake sets and costumes, informed not just by the overripe sensibility of the Pre-Raphaelites but also by Gustave Moreau and other decadents, look breathtaking on paper.



Example sentences
  • What we might find shocking, then, is not that Coward had the nerve to deal with this subject matter, but that he might have actually lived like this; so decadently, so irresponsibly.
  • Otter Bar has a wild stretch of the Salmon River in its backyard and is probably the best whitewater school in the world, not least because it is the most decadently luxurious.
  • So while I slog through my day-to-day drudgeries, he is cavorting on the Champs-Elysées and decadently nibbling pain au chocolat on the Rive Gauche.


Mid 19th century: from French décadent, from medieval Latin decadentia (see decadence).

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Related Words