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decent

[ dee-suhnt ]
/ ˈdi sənt /
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adjective

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“Was” is used for the indicative past tense of “to be,” and “were” is only used for the subjunctive past tense.

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Origin of decent

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

OTHER WORDS FROM decent

de·cent·ly, adverbde·cent·ness, noun

WORDS THAT MAY BE CONFUSED WITH decent

decent , descent, dissent
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

DECENT VS. DESCENT

What’s the difference between decent and descent?

Decent is an adjective that means adequate or suitable, as in a decent meal, or good or respectable, as in a decent person. Descent is a noun that means the act of moving downward (descending), a downward movement, or downward movement in general.

Despite their similar spelling, the two words are pronounced differently. In decent, the emphasis is on the first part of the word, which is pronounced like dee. In descent, the emphasis is on the -scent part of the word, with the first part pronounced like dih.

So how can you remember which one gets the s? Dropping the s is the decent thing to do, but you should pick it back up for your descent.

Here’s an example of descent and dissent used correctly in a sentence.

Example: The climbers decided to make the descent while the weather was still decent.

Quiz yourself on decent vs. descent!

Should decent or descent be used in the following sentence?

The plane’s rapid _____ was caused by a faulty engine.

Example sentences from the Web for decent

British Dictionary definitions for decent

decent
/ (ˈdiːsənt) /

adjective

Derived forms of decent

decently, 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
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