Definition of decadent
OTHER WORDS FROM decadent
Words nearby decadent
MORE ABOUT DECADENT
What does decadent mean?
Decadent is used to describe things, such as a society or era, that are thought to be in a state of deterioration or decay, especially due to being excessively morally corrupt or self-indulgent.
The state of being decadent is decadence.
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.
When capitalized, the word Decadent has a much more specific meaning. It refers to members of the group 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. Writers considered Decadents include French poet Arthur Rimbaud and Irish writer Oscar Wilde.
Example: Historians have traditionally depicted the late Roman Empire as a decadent society, but others have debated whether supposed corruption of morals actually contributed to its fall.
Where does decadent come from?
The first records of the word decadent come from the 1800s. It’s a back formation from the noun decadence, meaning that decadence came first and was then made into the adjective decadent. The first records of the word decadence come from the mid-1500s. It ultimately comes from the Latin verb dēcadere, meaning “to fall away.”
Describing a society as decadent 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 describes chocolate cake as decadent, 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 decadent?
- decadently (adverb)
- decadence (noun)
What are some synonyms for decadent?
What are some words that share a root or word element with decadent?
What are some words that often get used in discussing decadent?
How is decadent used in real life?
Decadent is perhaps most popularly used to describe rich desserts, especially chocolate ones. When it’s used to describe a society, it’s intended as a negative judgment.
Nothing says "weekend brunch" like a decadent Croque Madame. pic.twitter.com/Xq2XqhTJPd
— Tastemade (@tastemade) August 23, 2020
— Departures Magazine (@DeparturesMag) August 23, 2020
You know you’re a privileged group within a decadent society when the greatest injustice you’ve faced is having to wear a mask indoors.
— Paysoninho (@paysoninho) May 21, 2020
Try using decadent!
Which of the following words is NOT a synonym of decadent?
How to use decadent in a sentence
The grandson of legendary fashion editor Diana Vreeland, Nicholas Vreeland was poised for a decadent life in high-society.
Since it could now survive travel over longer distances, lobster became a decadent treat for the American upper class.My Big, Buttery Lobster Roll Rumble: We Came, We Clawed, We Conquered|Scott Bixby|June 7, 2014|DAILY BEAST
I remember going to a rehearsal dinner that had lobster tail on the buffet and thinking that was decadent.Which of Kim Kardashian’s Weddings Was More Ridiculous?|Kevin Fallon|May 27, 2014|DAILY BEAST
Decadent, venal, ineffective, stratified, anxiety-ridden, stumbling from one declared crisis to the next—who wants that?
Amongst the characters performances are decadent costumes, over-the-top wigs, and too much leather, fur, and slinky cuts to count.
He was that rare thing in a new land, a decadent, a connoisseur in vice, a lover of opiates and of liquor.You Never Know Your Luck, Complete|Gilbert Parker
You must read your Latin authors well, for, since you must be decadent, it is better to decay from a good source.Sinister Street, vol. 1|Compton Mackenzie
We still seem to detect the influence of a decadent, late Magdalenian style of ornament.The New Stone Age in Northern Europe|John M. Tyler
Here he became a friend of Grard de Nerval, who was of such influence on the later decadent school.Contes Franais|Douglas Labaree Buffum
This prince of the seventeenth century was the beau-ideal decadent that many modern novelists have delighted to depict.Court Beauties of Old Whitehall|W. R. H. Trowbridge