Definitions

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

  • adj. Being in a state of decline or decay.
  • adj. Marked by or providing unrestrained gratification; self-indulgent.
  • adj. Of or relating to literary Decadence.
  • n. A person in a condition or process of mental or moral decay.
  • n. A member of the Decadence movement.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Characterized by moral or cultural decline.
  • adj. Luxuriously self-indulgent.
  • n. A person affected by moral decay.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Decaying; deteriorating.
  • n. One that is decadent, or deteriorating; esp., one characterized by, or exhibiting, the qualities of those who are degenerating to a lower type; -- specif. applied to a certain school of modern French writers.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Falling away; decaying; deteriorating.
  • n. One who or that which exhibits decadence or deterioration; specifically, one whose literary or artistic work is supposed to show the marks of national or general decadence: applied especially to a certain group of French writers and artists.

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

  • adj. marked by excessive self-indulgence and moral decay
  • n. a person who has fallen into a decadent state (morally or artistically)

Etymologies

French décadent, back-formation from décadence, decadence; see decadence.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Back-formation from decadence, from Medieval Latin decadentia, from Late Latin decadens ("decadens"), present participle of Late Latin decado ("sink, fall"). Cognate with French décadent (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • To his confused mind English literature was a period of degeneracy, one and indissoluble, in which certain famous writers lived, devoting what time they could snatch from the practice of what he called the decadent vices to the worship of the bottle.

    American Sketches 1908

  • She offers food, such as what she calls a decadent sweet roll, that's sweetened mostly with agave instead of sugar.

    Kansas.com Blogs Master Site Feed

  • On top of that, the Macross can never run out of the abundant food and toys for the 60,000+ people living in decadent luxury in its cargo bay.

    Archive 2009-06-01

  • Ignorance may be bliss when in decadent times, but will not give you the tools necessary to thrive when they go bleak.

    Giorgio Morandi at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

  • Bath desserts - talk about the ultimate in decadent luxury!

    Delectable Bath Fizzy Treats

  • Those sentiments were fully aired during the wide-open era we call the decadent sixties.

    Seriously Seeking Solutions (Male sexism: cause and cure)

  • And this was in decadent liberal California (though, admittedly, the most conservative part ...)

    the nutshell

  • Wafa used the word decadent to describe the Oriental Harmony Journey, a two-hour, four-handed rubdown offered at the Mandarin Oriental in Manhattan.

    Men.Style.com: Latest Features and Articles

  • The Akons are more active and mentally healthier than the majority of Arkonides, who are in what you might call a decadent state-and the same is true of their mighty empire.

    Good Night, Mrs. Calabash

  • NAFISI: ... about eating a-- well, any -- like, for example, licking ice cream in public is sort of called decadent or unseemly for a woman.

    Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books

Comments

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  • Daffynition: Possessing only ten teeth. (deca-dent)

    June 16, 2012

  • "As societies grow decadent, the language grows decadent, too. Words are used to disguise, not to illuminate, action: You liberate a city by destroying it. Words are used to confuse, so that at election time people will solemnly vote against their own interests. Finally, words must be so twisted as to justify an empire that has now ceased to exist, much less make sense."
    — Gore Vidal, 'Imperial America', 2004.

    February 17, 2009

  • Boisterous roistering oysters?

    September 20, 2008

  • With the boisterous oysters?

    March 3, 2008

  • I think I may have seen your scallops at a recent holiday bash, drinking it up.

    March 3, 2008

  • Or can they? Maybe the good people at Red Lobster know something you don't know.

    March 2, 2008

  • Somebody tell the good people at Red Lobster that shrimp and scallops cannot be decadent!

    December 4, 2007

  • Is a dodecadent, then, 12 tridents?

    November 7, 2007

  • three and a third tridents

    November 7, 2007