[ dek-uh-dl ]


  1. of or relating to a decade.

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Other Words From

  • deca·dal·ly adverb

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Word History and Origins

Origin of decadal1

First recorded in 1745–55; decade + -al 1

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Example Sentences

In the US, the issue is especially pressing in California, which is coping with a record-setting, multi-decadal drought.

These four decadal snapshots show temperature shifts since 1980.

Inevitably if you have an upward trend, which we have been seeing for some time now, well, at some point you are going to bypass annual records and eventually decadal ones as well.

From Time

“This is change occurring in a decadal times scale,” Hansen said.


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More About Decadal

What does decadal mean?

Decadal is used to describe something that involves or lasts for a decade or a period of 10 consecutive years, as in a decadal growth rate. 

Decadal is mostly used to describe something that lasted for 10 years, occurred over 10 years, or is concerned with a time period of 10 years. A decadal climate change survey, for example, is a survey that records 10 years of climate change data.

The similar word decennial can describe something related to a decade, too, but it can also describe something that happens once every 10 years, such as the U.S. Census. Decadal is not used this way.

Example: In order to have enough data, the scientists studied decadal periods of temperature change.

Where does decadal come from?

The first records of the word decadal come from around the 1740s. It comes from the word decade, meaning “a period of 10 years,” and the suffix -al, which means “of or pertaining to.”

Decadal is not a common word. It is most often used in scientific writing, such as research that analyzes changes or shifts over 10-year periods. Someone may be able to figure out what you mean if you use decadal, but you are probably better off using a phrase instead, like “lasted a decade” or “over a decade.”

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What are some other forms related to decadal?

  • decadally (adverb)

What are some synonyms for decadal?

What are some words that share a root or word element with decadal

What are some words that often get used in discussing decadal?

How is decadal used in real life?

Decadal is not commonly used outside of scientific contexts.



Try using decadal!

Decadal is most closely related to which of the following lengths of time?

A. one year
B. five years
C. 10 years
D. 100 years