See also: décent

English

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Etymology

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From Middle French décent, or its source, Latin decēns, present participle of decet (it is fitting or suitable), from Proto-Indo-European *deḱ- (to take, accept, to receive, greet, be suitable) (compare Ancient Greek δοκέω (dokéō, I appear, seem, think), δέχομαι (dékhomai, I accept); Sanskrit दशस्यति (daśasyáti, shows honor, is gracious), दाशति (dāśati, makes offerings, bestows)). Meaning ‘kind, pleasant’ is from 1902.

Pronunciation

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  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˈdiːsənt/
  • Audio (US):(file)
  • Rhymes: -iːsənt

Adjective

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decent (comparative more decent, superlative most decent)

  1. Appropriate; suitable for the circumstances.
  2. (of a person) Having a suitable conformity to basic moral standards; showing integrity, fairness, or other characteristics associated with moral uprightness.
  3. (informal) Sufficiently clothed or dressed to be seen.
    Are you decent? May I come in?
  4. Fair; acceptable; okay.
    He's a decent saxophonist, but probably not good enough to make a career of it.
    • 1963, Margery Allingham, “Foreword”, in The China Governess: A Mystery, London: Chatto & Windus, →OCLC:
      A canister of flour from the kitchen had been thrown at the looking-glass and lay like trampled snow over the remains of a decent blue suit with the lining ripped out which lay on top of the ruin of a plastic wardrobe.
    • 1991, Stephen Fry, The Liar, London: Heinemann, →OCLC, page 35:
      And ‘blubbing’... Blubbing went out with ‘decent’ and ‘ripping’. Mind you, not a bad new language to start up. Nineteen-twenties schoolboy slang could be due for a revival.
    • 2021 June 30, Philip Haigh, “Regional trains squeezed as ECML congestion heads north”, in RAIL, number 934, page 53:
      I'm all for opening new stations (Transport Scotland is planning another at East Linton, about halfway between Drem and Dunbar), but they are useless without a decent service.
  5. Significant; substantial.
    There are a decent number of references out there, if you can find them.
  6. Conforming to perceived standards of good taste.
    • 1899 February, Joseph Conrad, “The Heart of Darkness”, in Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine, volume CLXV, number M, New York, N.Y.: The Leonard Scott Publishing Company, [], →OCLC, part I, page 201:
      I had a cup of tea - the last decent cup of tea for many days; and in a room that most soothingly looked just as you would expect a lady’s drawing-room to look, we had a long quiet chat by the fireside.
  7. (obsolete) Comely; shapely; well-formed.

Usage notes

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Synonyms

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Antonyms

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Derived terms

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Translations

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References

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Anagrams

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Friulian

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Etymology

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From Latin decens.

Pronunciation

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  This entry needs pronunciation information. If you are familiar with the IPA then please add some!

Adjective

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decent

  1. decent

Latin

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Verb

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decent

  1. third-person plural present active indicative of decet

Occitan

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Etymology

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From Latin decens.

Pronunciation

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  This entry needs pronunciation information. If you are familiar with the IPA then please add some!

Adjective

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decent m (feminine singular decenta, masculine plural decents, feminine plural decentas)

  1. decent

Derived terms

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Romanian

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Etymology

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Borrowed from French décent, from Latin decens.

Pronunciation

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Adjective

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decent m or n (feminine singular decentă, masculine plural decenți, feminine and neuter plural decente)

  1. decent

Declension

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Further reading

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