Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A process, condition, or period of deterioration or decline, as in morals or art; decay.
  • n. A literary movement especially of late 19th-century France and England characterized by refined aestheticism, artifice, and the quest for new sensations.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A state of moral or artistic decline or deterioration; decay

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A falling away; decay; deterioration; declension. “The old castle, where the family lived in their decadence.”

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A falling off or away; the act or process of falling into an inferior condition or state; the process or state of decay; deterioration.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. the state of being degenerate in mental or moral qualities

Etymologies

French décadence, from Old French decadence, from Medieval Latin dēcadentia, a decaying, declining, from Vulgar Latin *dēcadere, to decay; see decay.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From French décadence, from Medieval Latin decadentia ("decay"), from *decadens ("decaying"), present participle of *decadere ("to decay"); see decay. (Wiktionary)

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