The Meaning of Decent: What It Is and How To Use It

Do you know the definition of decent? This article will provide you with all of the information you need on the word decent, including its definition, usage, word origin, example sentences, and more!

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What does the word decent mean?

According to the Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language as well as other dictionaries like American Heritage and Collins English Dictionary, the word decent is an adjectives that can describe a person that is marked by moral Integrity, Goodwill and kindness, or someone who is modestly clothed or conforms to standards of propriety, morality, or good taste. Someone who is decent is free from immodesty or obscenity. This word can also be used to describe things other than people as fairly good, satisfactory, or adequate. Someone who is decent shows modesty, has good behavior and treats others with honor.  These characteristics meet a recognized standard of propriety. The pronunciation of decent is ​ˈdiːsənt.

Many different languages also contain words that mean decent. You may notice that some of these words look similar or the same as the word decent. These cognates are often formed when two words or languages have the same root word or language of origin. This list of translations is provided by Word Sense

  •  Georgian: წესიერი‎, ზრდილი‎
  •  German: anständig‎, sittsam‎
  •  Finnish: kunnollinen‎, rehellinen‎, säädyllinen‎
  •  Dutch: integer‎
  •  Slovene: spodoben‎; dostojen‎
  •  Portuguese: decente‎
  •  French: intègre‎
  •  Polish: przyzwoity‎ (masc.)
  •  Irish: gnaíúil‎
  •  Swedish: sedesam‎
  •  Bokmål: anstendig‎
  •  Czech: slušný‎ (masc.)
  •  Russian: порядочный‎, прили́чный‎, благопристойный‎
  •  Bulgarian: благоприличен‎
  •  Turkish: saygın‎, terbiyeli‎, onat‎
  •  Indonesian: baik‎
  •  Greek: κόσμιος‎, ευπρεπής‎
  •  Spanish: decente‎
  •  Italian: perbene‎
  •  Sundanese: bener‎
  •  Hebrew: הגון‎ (hagun)
  •  Alemannic German: aaschtändig‎
  •  Scottish Gaelic: cothromach‎, iomchaidh‎
  •  Ancient Greek ​δοκεῖν (dokein)
  •  Greek: ​​​​​​δέχεσθαι

How can the word decent be used in a sentence?

The word decent can be used in many different sentences in the English language. This word is neither considered casual or formal, so it is appropriate to use in a variety of different circumstances. Below are many different examples of the word decent. (adj.) Try using this word of the day in a sentence today. Using words that you are trying to learn the definition of is a great way to make sure that you remember that. 

The decent dress that the nice girl wore had wide shoulder straps and a modest neckline; it was appropriate for the church event.

It was a decent burial; there was not a camera in sight, and visitors paid their respects to the person during the cold winter ceremony.

The advertisement was not decent at all. While the model had a decent face, it was very risque and inappropriate.

She had a decent amount of money saved up to buy a new car. She was looking for something reliable that she could count on for a long time. 

The dog had a decent coat and good build, but it was not enough for him to win the dog show and $10,000. 

She raised a decent amount of money to donate to the Children’s Hospital at her bake sale, but the carwash that the cheerleaders threw raised nearly triple the amount. 

The men were decently good friends, but they did not have the trust for one another. friends of 20 years should have. 

The college students quickly changed into something decent when the resident advisor knocked on the door in the middle of the night. 

What is the origin of the word decent?

According to Etymonline, the word decent has been used since the 1530s (c16). This word comes from the Middle French décent and the Latin decentum, the nominative decens/Latin decēns meaning becoming or proper. This is the present participle of decēre, a Latin verb meaning to be fitting or suitable. This comes from the Proto-Indo-European root deke or dek meaning to take or accept. One can also add the suffix ly to create the adverb decently (adv.).

What are synonyms and antonyms for the word decent?

There are many different words that a person can use in place of the word decent. These are called synonyms, which are words and phrases that have the same definition as another word or phrase. Synonyms are useful to know if you are trying to avoid repeating yourself as well as if you are looking to expand your vocabulary. This list of synonyms for the word decent is provided by Thesaurus.

  •  decorous
  •  spotless
  •  honorable
  •  unblemished
  •  appropriate
  •  mannerly
  •  clean
  •  immaculate
  •  good
  •  right
  •  seemly
  •  correct
  •  pure
  •  approved
  •  befitting
  •  becoming
  •  straight arrow
  •  untarnished
  •  undefiled
  •  worthy
  •  straight shooting
  •  noble
  •  nice
  •  presentable
  •  fit
  •  honest
  •  fitting
  •  virtuous
  •  upright
  •  continent
  •  suitable
  •  respectable
  •  moral
  •  conforming
  •  polite
  •  straight
  •  modest
  •  delicate
  •  reserved
  •  on the up and up
  •  standard
  •  proper
  •  ethical
  •  comme il faut
  •  trustworthy
  •  stainless
  •  comely
  •  prudent
  •  chaste

There are also a number of words that mean the opposite of the word decent. These opposite words are called antonyms. Antonyms are another easy way to work on expanding your vocabulary. This list of antonyms for the word decent is provided by Thesaurus.

  •  improper
  •  immodest
  •  shocking
  •  rough
  •  impure
  •  pornographic
  •  ill-bred
  •  scatological
  •  gross
  •  ridiculous
  •  licentious
  •  raunchy
  •  untoward
  •  vile
  •  immoral
  •  in bad taste
  •  foulmouthed
  •  coarse
  •  indecent
  •  foul
  •  indecorous
  •  X-rated
  •  undecorous
  •  dirty
  •  offensive
  •  unseemly
  •  tasteless
  •  indelicate
  •  obscene
  •  lewd
  •  blue
  •  filthy
  •  raw
  •  off-color
  •  smutty
  •  crude
  •  vulgar
  •  outrageous
  •  shameless
  •  salacious
  •  unbecoming
  •  malodorous
  •  wicked
  •  blasphemy

Overall, the word decent can mean having an attractive appearance, good manners, basic moral standards, or a suitable conformity. This person or thing has moral uprightness, shows honor, and meets the current standards of comely behavior. This person might also be modest or have a spirit of particular persons that are overall good. This word is of Indo-European roots.


  1. decent: meaning, origin, translation | Word Sense 
  2. decent | Origin and meaning of decent | Online Etymology Dictionary 
  3. INDECENT Synonyms: 58 Synonyms & Antonyms for INDECENT | Thesaurus 
  4. Decent | Definition of Decent | Merriam-Webster 
  5. DECENT Synonyms: 134 Synonyms & Antonyms for DECENT | Thesaurus