View synonyms for decadence


[ dek-uh-duhns, dih-keyd-ns ]


  1. 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.

    Synonyms: decline, retrogression, degeneration

  2. moral degeneration or decay; turpitude.
  3. unrestrained or excessive self-indulgence.
  4. (often initial capital letter) the decadent movement in literature.


/ ˈdɛkədəns /


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

Discover More

Other Words From

  • non·deca·dence noun
  • non·deca·den·cy noun
  • over·deca·dence noun

Discover More

Word History and Origins

Origin of decadence1

First recorded in 1540–50; from Middle French, from Medieval Latin dēcadentia, from Late Latin dēcadent-, stem of dēcadēns “falling away” (present participle of dēcadere “to fall away,” from de- de- + cad(ere) “to fall”) + -ia -y 3( def )

Discover More

Word History and Origins

Origin of decadence1

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

Discover More

Example Sentences

A century ago, our greatest writers extolled the beauty and spirituality of war, and the decadence and selfishness and effeminacy of peace.

Mirza Ghalib, the ultimate authority on Urdu poetry, was also an authority on mangoes, weaving entire ditties around their decadence.

From Ozy

At my meal, that luxury came through not just in the decadence but in how tailored it was to each person around the table.

I try to tell the unvarnished truth about the decadence in our market-driven universities!

Seeking can call it sugaring, with its implications of frivolity and decadence, but it’s hard to attribute the site’s popularity to anything but financial hardship.

Our mockery of celebworld helps us evade the soul-crushing decadence concealed within.

Within days, the anti-Western line drawn to connect the dots of supposed Western decadence reached theaters and movie theaters.

Many accused party leaders of excessive wealth and decadence filled with liquor and women.

The decadence of it at 10 in the morning, it just feels like the perfect reward!

In both films, these vehicular behemoths are emblems of our current decadence.

This style of the decadence is the "dernier mot" of Verbe, summoned to express all and to venture to the very extremes.

Unlike those feathered Romans of the Decadence, we moderns settle for one meal at a sitting, and let it digest in peace.

So long as England produces men of this metal she need not fear the decadence of the race.

They had reached the period of decadence, and were often heard boasting of the illustrious Charlotte.

It is the fruit of a decadence, not the mature product of a full-blown art, which has taken centuries to grow and ripen.


Discover More

More About Decadence

What does decadence mean?

Decadence is a state of deterioration or decay, especially due to being excessively morally corrupt or self-indulgent.

The adjective form of decadence is decadent, which is used to describe things in such a state, especially societies or behavior.

Decadent is also popularly used in a somewhat figurative way to describe things that are extremely indulgent, especially rich foods, as in That triple chocolate cake is so decadent that I think I can only finish half a piece. The word decadence can refer to the extreme richness or luxury of such things.

When capitalized, the word Decadence has a much more specific meaning. It refers to a movement of French and English writers in the second half of the 1800s whose works were known for their refined and subtle style and sometimes abnormal content. Such writers are called Decadents and include French poet Arthur Rimbaud and Irish writer Oscar Wilde.

Example: Historians have traditionally depicted the late Roman Empire as having been brought down in part by its decadence, but others have debated whether supposed corruption of morals actually contributed to its fall.a

Where does decadence come from?

The first records of the word decadence come from the mid-1500s. It ultimately comes from the Latin verb dēcadere, meaning “to fall away.” The adjective decadent is actually a back formation from the noun decadence, meaning that decadence came first and was then made into the adjective decadent.

Referring to the decadence of a society or a behavior is a way of criticizing it for having fallen away and deteriorated into a state thought to be inferior. The word especially implies the belief that people’s morals have decayed on a large scale and they are indulging in behaviors that were previously considered unacceptable.

When someone refers to the decadence of a chocolate cake, they’re using the word in a figurative way that implies that it’s so rich and indulgent that it’s almost immoral—such desserts are often similarly described as sinful.

Did you know ... ?

What are some other forms related to decadence?

What are some synonyms for decadence?

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

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

How is decadence used in real life?

Decadence is perhaps most popularly used in reference to rich desserts, especially chocolate ones. When it’s used in reference to a society, it’s intended as a negative judgment.



Try using decadence!

Which of the following words is NOT a synonym of decadence?

A. decency
B. degeneration
C. deterioration
D. decline

Word of the Day


[ak-suh-lot-l ]

Meaning and examples

Start each day with the Word of the Day in your inbox!

By clicking "Sign Up", you are accepting Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policies.