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90s Slang You Should Know


[dee-suh nt] /ˈdi sənt/
conforming to the recognized standard of propriety, good taste, modesty, etc., as in behavior or speech.
respectable; worthy:
a decent family.
adequate; fair; passable:
a decent wage.
kind; obliging; generous:
It was very decent of him to lend me his watch.
suitable; appropriate:
She did not have a decent coat for the cold winter.
of fairly attractive appearance:
a decent face.
Informal. wearing enough clothing to appear in public.
Slang. great; wonderful.
Origin of decent
1485-95; < Latin decent- (stem of decēns) fitting (present participle of decēre to be fitting; see -ent), akin to decus honor
Related forms
decently, adverb
decentness, noun
Can be confused
decent, descent, dissent.
1. seemly, proper, decorous. 5. apt, fit, becoming.
1. unseemly. 5. inappropriate. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for decently
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He had his share in the food of the family, and he was just decently clothed, but there was an end to personal enterprises.

    Human Intercourse Philip Gilbert Hamerton
  • I am sure Jack felt it, for, as soon as he decently could, he got up to go.

  • Finally someone was roused to shame and remorse at the piteous sight; he was washed, shaved, and decently clothed.

    Joan of Arc Laura E. Richards
  • On the spot, and thank you, if you can wait till I am able to move about decently.

    The Art of Disappearing John Talbot Smith
  • There was no snow even, for the wind swept it away as it fell, and we couldn't so much as decently cover him.

  • It is to be hoped that, at any rate, she will provide us with decently cooked food.

    A Sheaf of Corn Mary E. Mann
British Dictionary definitions for decently


polite or respectable: a decent family
proper and suitable; fitting: a decent burial
conforming to conventions of sexual behaviour; not indecent
free of oaths, blasphemy, etc: decent language
good or adequate: a decent wage
(informal) kind; generous: he was pretty decent to me
(informal) sufficiently clothed to be seen by other people: are you decent?
Derived Forms
decently, adverb
decentness, noun
Word Origin
C16: from Latin decēns suitable, from decēre to be fitting
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for decently



1530s, "proper to one's station or rank," also "tasteful," from Middle French décent, or directly from Latin decentem (nominative decens) "becoming, seemly, fitting, proper," present participle of decere "to be fitting or suitable," from PIE *deke-, from root *dek- "to take, accept, to receive, greet, be suitable" (cf. Greek dokein "to appear, seem, think," dekhesthai "to accept;" Sanskrit daśasyati "shows honor, is gracious," dacati "makes offerings, bestows;" Latin docere "to teach," decus "grace, ornament"). Meaning "kind, pleasant" is from 1902. Are you decent? (1949) was originally backstage theater jargon for "are you dressed."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for decently



Good, often very good: makes a decent living

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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