noun, plural de·cen·cies.

the state or quality of being decent.
conformity to the recognized standard of propriety, good taste, modesty, etc.
  1. the recognized standards of decent or proper behavior; proprieties: The least you can expect from them is some respect for the decencies.
  2. the requirements or amenities for decent or comfortable living: to be able to afford the decencies.

Origin of decency

1560–70; < Latin decentia comeliness, decency, equivalent to decent- (stem of decēns) fitting (see decent) + -ia noun suffix

Synonyms for decency Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for decencies

Historical Examples of decencies

  • One must preserve the decencies of life; one must make a good appearance in the field!

    The Long Roll

    Mary Johnston

  • All the decencies in the world should sink before he thought her a traitor.

    The Coast of Chance

    Esther Chamberlain

  • Virtue she finds too painful an endeavour, Content to dwell in decencies for ever.

    Essay on Man

    Alexander Pope

  • No reasons can justify such an extraordinary breach of all the—the decencies.

    Bob, Son of Battle

    Alfred Ollivant

  • Chesterton bases his case on decencies, but they are not the decencies that matter.

British Dictionary definitions for decencies


pl n

the decencies those things that are considered necessary for a decent life
standards of behaviour considered correct by polite society; proprieties


noun plural -cies

conformity to the prevailing standards of propriety, morality, modesty, etc
the quality of being decent
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

Word Origin and History for decencies



1560s, "appropriateness," from Latin decentia "comeliness, decency," from decentem "becoming, fitting" (see decent). Meaning "modesty" (i.e. "appropriateness to standards of society") is from 1630s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper