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From Latin decentia, from decens. Compare French décence. See decent.



decency (countable and uncountable, plural decencies)

  1. The quality of being decent; propriety.
    • Burke
      Observances of time, place, and of decency in general.
    • Roscommon
      Immodest words admit of no defence, / For want of decency is want of sense.
  2. That which is proper or becoming.
    • Atterbury
      The external decencies of worship.
    • Milton
      Those thousand decencies, that daily flow / From all her words and actions.
    • 2016 August 7, John Oliver, “Journalism”, in Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, season 3, episode 20, HBO:
      Now, what is interesting about that poem is nothing. But, what is relevant about it is that his muse is his wife, Marcela, who is 42 years younger than him. He is 75, she is 33. And I’ll say this, at least when 70-something American politicians get creepily handsy with 30-something women, they have the decency to do so with their own daughters. Have some class, Brazil! Have some class!


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