[ dee-suhnt ]
/ ˈdi sənt /


Nearby words

  1. decencies,
  2. decency,
  3. decennary,
  4. decennial,
  5. decennium,
  6. decenter,
  7. decently,
  8. decentralization,
  9. decentralize,
  10. decentralized processing

Origin of decent

1485–95; < Latin decent- (stem of decēns) fitting (present participle of decēre to be fitting; see -ent), akin to decus honor

Related formsde·cent·ly, adverbde·cent·ness, noun

Can be confuseddecent descent dissent Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for decent

British Dictionary definitions for decent


/ (ˈdiːsənt) /


Derived Formsdecently, adverbdecentness, noun

Word Origin for decent

C16: from Latin decēns suitable, from decēre to be fitting

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 decent



1530s, "proper to one's station or rank," also "tasteful," from Middle French décent, or directly from Latin decentem (nominative decens) "becoming, seemly, fitting, proper," present participle of decere "to be fitting or suitable," from PIE *deke-, from root *dek- "to take, accept, to receive, greet, be suitable" (cf. Greek dokein "to appear, seem, think," dekhesthai "to accept;" Sanskrit daśasyati "shows honor, is gracious," dacati "makes offerings, bestows;" Latin docere "to teach," decus "grace, ornament"). Meaning "kind, pleasant" is from 1902. Are you decent? (1949) was originally backstage theater jargon for "are you dressed."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper