Definition of decadence in English:



  • 1[mass noun] Moral or cultural decline as characterized by excessive indulgence in pleasure or luxury.

    ‘he denounced Western decadence’
    • ‘The Roman Empire collapsed because of decadence; they got too comfortable.’
    • ‘The contemporary preoccupation with self is not so much a reflection of the moral decadence of our age as a pitiful search for identity.’
    • ‘England was on her knees, so weakened and in such a state of decadence and decay that any moral resistance would have been virtually impossible.’
    • ‘This type of permissive lifestyle contributes to moral decadence and criminal activity.’
    • ‘This has been a long-term process of decadence, of culture and of economy.’
    • ‘In the long run, I'm optimistic that, as mankind, we shall succeed in curing this problem of epidemic, or endemic decadence, which causes these cyclical behaviors in cultures.’
    • ‘Marriage was a key issue in the last election, with Massachusetts' gay marriages becoming a symbol of alleged blue state decadence and moral decay.’
    • ‘There can be little doubt that we, too, live in a time of cultural and moral decadence.’
    • ‘Liberal pacifism remained influential in Western democracies, but it was also widely seen, especially in Germany, as a symptom of moral decadence.’
    • ‘I'd start with The Decline of the West by Oswald Spengler, a book that was prophetic in identifying imperialism with cultural decadence and barbarism.’
    • ‘At nudging 78, I can remember a very different society from our current cesspool of moral, social and economic decadence.’
    • ‘Modern decadence and moral ambiguity are brought to the fore, with peerless acting by Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt.’
    • ‘For instance, some observers see the availability of pornographic material on the Internet as partly responsible for many societies' moral decadence.’
    • ‘This is all the more so because the temporal setting of the film is the 1970s, a decade fraught with problems related to moral decadence.’
    • ‘For Webster's audience, Italy was perceived as a site of political intrigue, economic power, decadence, and moral decay.’
    • ‘Giovanni Boccaccio, the great 14th century Italian humanist writer offers us a humorous insight into the corruption and decadence of the Church of his day.’
    • ‘The goal of conservatism is to defend our civilization from decay and decadence, from a weakening of our principles.’
    • ‘New Orleans is - or was - a hub of cultural diversity with a touch of morbid decadence.’
    • ‘The earlier anti-liberal revolt was marked by an attack on cultural decadence and a demand for a return to religion and order.’
    • ‘He began his respected career in the mid 1980s, creating gritty urban landscapes that commented on the decay and decadence of modern life.’
    • ‘Nothing reveals the decadence of the regime more than the revelation that, deprived of fresh water, the inmates of the bunker were forced to wash in the champagne that their leaders had greedily stockpiled.’
    dissipation, dissoluteness, degeneracy, debauchery, corruption, depravity, loucheness, vice, sinfulness, perversion, moral decay, immorality, lack of morals, lack of principles, lack of restraint, lack of control, lack of self-control, immoderateness, intemperance, licentiousness, wantonness, self-indulgence, hedonism, epicureanism
    sybaritism, voluptuousness
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Luxurious self-indulgence.
      ‘cream cakes on a Wednesday—pure decadence’
      • ‘On arrival the sheer decadence of this place gave a great wow factor.’
      • ‘As an ingredient, it adds decadence to our dairy desserts, a sweet richness to our dairy beverages.’
      • ‘AVOCADO AND BACON This is for people who love their food and see the sandwich's potential for utter indulgence and decadence.’
      • ‘To sail in luxurious decadence, try the Symphonia, a 112-foot yacht that sleeps ten.’
      • ‘Best of all is taking the private lift up to the Penthouse, a suite built into a turret which combines cosiness and sheer decadence.’
      • ‘In a moment of sheer decadence I eat cheese on toast in bed.’
      • ‘It doesn't have that luxurious feeling of decadence like having coffee and scones at 3.30 when everyone else is working.’
      • ‘Luxurious decadence is mostly wasted on you, Virgos.’
      • ‘Besides the mother/daughter role reversal, much of the show's comedy derived from women indulging in unashamed decadence, hedonism and outrageous, unladylike behaviour in the absence of men.’
      • ‘Chocolate will never go out of style, and as the trends of indulgence and decadence continue to impact the nation's eating habits, chocolate continues to be a predominant flavor in new dairy products.’
      • ‘This lower-St-Laurent restaurant-bar offers up a night of sheer decadence.’
      • ‘Dinner here is pure, pure decadence.’


Mid 16th century: from French décadence, from medieval Latin decadentia; related to decay.