Definition of decade in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈdekād/


1A period of ten years: he taught at the university for nearly a decade
More example sentences
  • This volume of published material represents work carried out over a period spanning nearly three decades.
  • The last serving member from the Battle of Long Tan is retiring from service this month after nearly four decades of military service.
  • The council decided on a plan of action at its first extraordinary meeting and emergency debate for nearly a decade last month.
1.1A period of ten years beginning with a year ending in 0 (or, by another reckoning, 1): the fourth decade of the nineteenth century
More example sentences
  • The urge to change the world that gnaws at normal people in their late teens and early 20's was taking shape in me around the beginning of my fourth decade.
  • But this is really just to frame the fact that today's the day; the ending of the past decade and the beginning of the next.
  • Ironically, it was actually an album released at the beginning of the next decade, which perhaps best symbolises this period of change.
2A set, series, or group of ten, in particular.
Example sentences
  • Most of Eastern Europe was about to enter four decades of Stalinist dictatorship and incompetence.
  • The Government is investing considerable resources in the transport infrastructure following decades of under-investment.
2.1ˈdekid Each of the five divisions of each chapter of the rosary.
Example sentences
  • For me this has ranged from two Hail Mary prayers right up to five decades of the rosary (which takes me about fifteen to twenty minutes).
  • Neighbours and friends who visited Pamela's home yesterday recited prayers and a decade of the rosary in a bid to quieten the restless spirit.
  • Then maybe a small group would join hands in a circle in prayer and somebody would begin a decade of the rosary.


Note that when decade means ‘a division of the rosary,’ the pronunciation is distinct: the stress is on dec-, but the second syllable sounds like id, not ade.



Pronunciation: /ˈdekədl/
Example sentences
  • Like the 3 mainstream satellite teams, the study appears to generate a decadal global warming trend of around 0.1°C, almost identical to the 3 mainstream satellite data sets.
  • Arctic temperatures did indeed have a peak around 1940, but the decadal mean temperatures are now warmer than the mean over 1935-1944.
  • The eleven chapters are chronological, presenting a decadal review covering the period from 1850 through the latter 1990s, although the historical context frequently spills over between the time frame of each chapter and topic.


Late Middle English (denoting each of ten parts of a literary work): via Old French and late Latin from Greek deka 'ten'. sense 1 dates from the early 17th century.

  • One book by the Roman historian Livy, who lived at the time of Christ, was in ten parts, and the name for each division was translated into English as decade. The earliest uses of the word in English refer to the sections of a similar literary work. It did not come to refer to a period of ten years until the early 17th century. The root of decade, Greek deka ‘ten’, is also that of decimate and of the first element of units such as the decilitre and decimetre (late 18th century).

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: dec·ade

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