Definition of decadent in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈdekəd(ə)nt/


1Characterized by or reflecting a state of moral or cultural decline.
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, sinful, unprincipled, immoral;
licentious, abandoned, profligate, intemperate;
sybaritic, hedonistic, pleasure-seeking, self-indulgent
declining, decaying, ebbing, degenerating, deteriorating
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.
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).

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: dec·a·dent

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