[ dek-uh-duhns, dih-keyd-ns ]
/ ˈdɛk ə dəns, dɪˈkeɪd ns /


the act or process of falling into an inferior condition or state; deterioration; decay: Some historians hold that the fall of Rome can be attributed to internal decadence.
moral degeneration or decay; turpitude.
unrestrained or excessive self-indulgence.
(often initial capital letter) the decadent movement in literature.
Also dec·a·den·cy [dek-uh-duhn-see, dih-keyd-n-] /ˈdɛk ə dən si, dɪˈkeɪd n-/.

Origin of decadence

1540–50; < Middle French < Medieval Latin dēcadentia, equivalent to Late Latin dēcadent- (stem of dēcadēns), present participle of dēcadere to fall away (de- de- +cad(ere) to fall + -ent- -ent) + -ia noun suffix; see -ence

Related forms

non·dec·a·dence, nounnon·dec·a·den·cy, nouno·ver·dec·a·dence, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for decadence

British Dictionary definitions for decadence



/ (ˈdɛkədəns) /


deterioration, esp of morality or culture; decay; degeneration
the state reached through such a process

Word Origin for decadence

C16: from French, from Medieval Latin dēcadentia, literally: a falling away; see decay
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