Definition of decade in English:


Pronunciation: /ˈdɛkeɪd//dɪˈkeɪd/


  • 1A period of ten years.

    ‘he taught at the university for nearly a decade’
    • ‘The birth rate increased for the third consecutive year following nearly a decade of decline.’
    • ‘Returning to Edinburgh last year after nearly two decades living and working in London, I went through the usual phase of seeing my country in new light, as an outsider.’
    • ‘Untangling this problem could take decades of research.’
    • ‘He spent the next three decades pursuing a wide range of activities, both professionally and as hobbies.’
    • ‘Amid the overturned cabinets, he saw decades ' worth of patient records scattered about.’
    • ‘Awarded the CBE in 1994, Rosenthal was one of Britain's most prolific screenwriters in a career spanning more than three decades.’
    • ‘The honour will also be conferred on John Shannon, who retired earlier this year after nearly four decades as chairman of York Civic Trust.’
    • ‘Just a few of the signs: Impatient investors now hold onto stocks for only one year, on average, down from nearly two years a decade ago.’
    • ‘This volume of published material represents work carried out over a period spanning nearly three decades.’
    • ‘Activists feared attacks would only harm a population already devastated by two decades of war and famine.’
    • ‘The council decided on a plan of action at its first extraordinary meeting and emergency debate for nearly a decade last month.’
    • ‘It is not just that he has turned 50; it has more to do with the fact that he has been retired from test cricket for eight years, nearly a decade.’
    • ‘The early decades of the conflict were characterised by a certain dignity and honour.’
    • ‘Life expectancy edged downward in the decades prior to the breakup of the Soviet Union.’
    • ‘The best model for New York is London, which has contracted out all of its bus services to the private sector every three years for nearly two decades.’
    • ‘After more than a decade at the helm it looks as if his endeavours may at last pay off.’
    • ‘The last serving member from the Battle of Long Tan is retiring from service this month after nearly four decades of military service.’
    • ‘Young Adam was written almost a decade earlier.’
    • ‘His remarkable acting career spanned six decades and scores of movies.’
    • ‘The software industry is just a few decades old while construction is as old as civilization itself.’
    1. 1.1A period of ten years beginning with a year ending in 0.
      ‘the fourth decade of the nineteenth century’
      • ‘There was, for instance, a flurry of concern during the first few decades of the nineteenth century, and another at the dawn of the twentieth.’
      • ‘Throughout the last decades of the eighteenth century and the first decades of the nineteenth, scarcely a year passed without violent protest or armed rebellion.’
      • ‘Even with the decline, the state's hospitals employed more people at the end of the 1990s than at the beginning of the decade.’
      • ‘The 1990s were the decade of the development of self management plans for asthma.’
      • ‘The nineties were also a decade of promising new beginnings as new seminaries and schools of theology opened.’
      • ‘Germany had become by far Italy's most important trade partner during the two last decades of the nineteenth century.’
      • ‘The start of a new decade, century and millennium, the Year 2000 naturally created some collective uneasiness.’
      • ‘During the first two decades of the nineteenth century control of the Cape Colony passed to and fro between Afrikaners and British authorities but rested with the latter.’
      • ‘‘The Sixties did not start, miraculously, with the beginning of the new decade,’ she says.’
      • ‘The urge to change the world that gnaws at normal people in their late teens and early 20's was taking shape in me around the beginning of my fourth decade.’
      • ‘Due to falling world silver prices during the last decades of the nineteenth century, the silver rupee was depreciated.’
      • ‘But this is really just to frame the fact that today's the day; the ending of the past decade and the beginning of the next.’
      • ‘The 1970s represented the beginning of three remarkable decades of expansion in the TSI.’
      • ‘It was the early 1990s, the beginning of a decade of civil war and chaos.’
      • ‘The major mobile phone companies spent billions of pounds at the beginning of the decade to secure licenses enabling them to offer 3G services in the UK.’
      • ‘This will become obvious by the beginning of the next decade, as the results of the 2010 census begin to rearrange the electoral map.’
      • ‘Ironically, it was actually an album released at the beginning of the next decade, which perhaps best symbolises this period of change.’
      • ‘By the end of the 1990s, 52 countries wound up poorer than at the beginning of the decade, according to the report.’
      • ‘Religion faced its most daunting challenges in the first two decades of the last century.’
      • ‘Strike activity remained at relatively high levels during the first two decades of the twentieth century.’
      age, time, period, era, epoch, century, decade, year, stage
      View synonyms
  • 2Each of the five divisions of each chapter of the rosary.

    ‘a local priest led the mourners in a decade of the rosary’
    • ‘Prayers at the graveside were recited by Fr. Cooney, who also led the large congregation in a decade of the Rosary.’
    • ‘Neighbours and friends who visited Pamela's home yesterday recited prayers and a decade of the rosary in a bid to quieten the restless spirit.’
    • ‘For me this has ranged from two Hail Mary prayers right up to five decades of the rosary (which takes me about fifteen to twenty minutes).’
    • ‘Pilgrims returning from the monastery at Mount Melleray have been known to stop and say a decade of the rosary for the departed.’
    • ‘Then maybe a small group would join hands in a circle in prayer and somebody would begin a decade of the rosary.’
  • 3A range of electrical resistances, frequencies, or other quantities spanning from one to ten times a base value.

    ‘power per decade of frequency’


There are two possible pronunciations for decade: one puts the stress on the dec- while the other puts the stress on the -cade (sounds like decayed). The second pronunciation is disapproved of by some traditionalists but is now regarded as a standard, acceptable alternative


Late Middle English (denoting each of ten parts of a literary work): via Old French and late Latin from Greek deka ten. decade dates from the early 17th century.