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

Synonyms for decent

Antonyms for decent Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for decent

Contemporary Examples of decent

Historical Examples of decent

  • If nothing else could stir you, Stephen, at least I could have imagined some decent impulse of gratitude to me.

    The Passionate Friends

    Herbert George Wells

  • There was a demand for the opportunity to be decent and kind.

    H. R.

    Edwin Lefevre

  • On the night of the dance he had barely kept within the limit of decent behavior.

    Lonesome Land

    B. M. Bower

  • And that's the only reward a decent mortal ought to hope for.

  • The one in the box next to the royal party was a decent enough fellow.

    The Shuttle

    Frances Hodgson Burnett

British Dictionary definitions for decent



polite or respectablea decent family
proper and suitable; fittinga decent burial
conforming to conventions of sexual behaviour; not indecent
free of oaths, blasphemy, etcdecent language
good or adequatea decent wage
informal kind; generoushe was pretty decent to me
informal sufficiently clothed to be seen by other peopleare you decent?
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