Definition of decent in English:

decent

adjective

  • 1Conforming with generally accepted standards of respectable or moral behaviour.

    ‘a decent clean-living individual’
    • ‘I suppose it's harmless and they're all decent, nice people, but we don't have much in common.’
    • ‘Society has allowed a lowering of standards and eroded the rules of decent, thoughtful behaviour.’
    • ‘It's insulting to my morals as a decent human being to have to watch people degrade themselves on television and use sly tactics in order to win money.’
    • ‘We have a lot of nice, decent people who come here to drink, and will have nowhere else to go if it is shut.’
    • ‘He said it had once been a decent community, a nice place to live, but it had gone downhill in the last five years.’
    • ‘The majority of people who live on that north Peckham estate are decent, peaceful and moral.’
    • ‘I talk to a nice, decent guy who understands my frustration but can't do jack about it.’
    • ‘Since then thousands of youngsters have learned good manners, decent behaviour and mutual respect, all through the seemingly anachronistic art of ballroom dancing.’
    • ‘There is no place for it in a decent and moral society.’
    • ‘But there used to be limits that decent men and women respected.’
    • ‘In Anne's case, the overriding impression was that of a dignified and decent woman struggling hard to cope with the pain of ending a marriage which just hadn't worked out.’
    • ‘If some leader was prepared to argue the decent moral position, people would follow.’
    • ‘Ninety nine percent of Heysham High pupils are decent, respectful, hardworking and a credit to their parents.’
    • ‘I am impressed with the other family though, who kept their cool in the face of such childish behaviour and showed what decent people they were.’
    • ‘Don't get me wrong, I work with nice, decent people.’
    • ‘We should be here in the House to establish decent standards of behaviour in our society.’
    • ‘But this is Australia and most people are fair, decent and respect difference.’
    • ‘Both these people have talent but far more than that they come across as nice, decent, genuine young people.’
    • ‘Then the question that arises is what sort of political institutions and practices are appropriate in a decent society.’
    • ‘We could help to maintain decent moral standards in advertising, by using our own purchasing power ethically.’
    respectable, upright, upstanding, honourable, honest, on the level, right-minded, law-abiding
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    1. 1.1 Appropriate; fitting.
      ‘they would meet again after a decent interval’
      • ‘The mildest critics argued that they were premature and that a decent interval should have been allowed before the struggle to analyse and understand began.’
      • ‘After a decent interval, laughter became acceptable as a means of relieving the tension.’
      • ‘Though Adams was a doubter on many aspects of Christianity, he nonetheless had a decent respect for it.’
      • ‘After a decent interval has passed, we'll hear what they're going to do.’
      • ‘Willingness to consider foreign judicial views in comparable cases is not surprising in a Nation that from its birth has given a decent respect to the opinions of mankind.’
      • ‘Some 19 months later, time enough for five or six decent intervals, Tenet still holds the job and appears to have job security, too.’
      • ‘After a decent interval, a period of dating and familiarisation, and ultimately marriage and homemaking, the first children were born.’
      • ‘These orders were invariably cancelled, after a decent interval, due to the whims of our fictitious clients.’
      • ‘In that case, the decision, after some hesitation, was to cancel sporting events for a decent interval.’
      • ‘There isn't a decent interval of time during which one must hold on to a present out of respect to the giver, although the introduction of such a tradition would save a lot of heartache.’
      • ‘Then came the main courses - served after a decent interval to allow some digesting and conversation to take place before studious consumption resumed.’
      • ‘After a decent interval, Prince George married his late brother's fiancée, Princess May, and they were a far more suitable couple than she and Eddy would have been.’
      • ‘For our grand finale, ordered after a decent interval, there was only ever going to be one choice for me, the dark treacle custard tart with rum soaked raisins.’
      • ‘After a decent interval he and Madeleine left Carew to his liqueurs and cynicism and headed back across the square to the Hotel Adernis.’
      • ‘No one's come up with a brilliant new scheme (and publishers have to wait a decent interval before repackaging the old ones).’
      • ‘I chatted for a decent interval, then picked up my book, smiled, and wished them a pleasant vacation.’
      • ‘We must hope that when we all come to look back, after a decent interval, we shall not regret our lack of interest.’
      • ‘So, after a decent interval occupied by morning chores, off we went into the sunshine.’
      • ‘One source told Hersh that ‘after a decent interval,’ he would depart.’
      • ‘After a decent interval of days, the identity of the new Prime Minister was no surprise.’
      proper, correct, appropriate, apt, apposite, fitting, fit, befitting, right, suitable, respectable, dignified, becoming, decorous, seemly, modest, nice, tasteful, in good taste, refined, genteel
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    2. 1.2 Not likely to shock or embarrass others.
      ‘a decent high-necked dress’
      • ‘And for heaven's sake people, put some decent clothes on your daughter.’
      • ‘By the time she was dressed and looking somewhat decent, she had only three minutes until Aidan was due to arrive.’
      • ‘She got out of bed and changed into a decent dress of woolspun.’
      • ‘From the sounds downstairs, my mother was trying to recover from last night's hangover and put on a decent dress for her daughters' weddings.’
      • ‘Besides, I also don't want to see your hairy chest… wear some decent clothes.’
      • ‘Coincidentally, she had on very decent clothes as well, I think it was a buttoned up cardigan with jeans.’
      • ‘He also made the request that people who attended should attend in decent dress, as per a golf course.’
      • ‘Others find her propensity for tacky glamour and ostentatious lack of decent clothing a little too much to bear.’
      • ‘I also wondered why a manufacturer would make an otherwise decent dress too sheer so everyone can have a perve at your undies if you wear it.’
      • ‘She made for a decent picture dressed in simple dark brown cashmere, and her hair placed in a simple bun at the nape of her neck.’
    3. 1.3informal Sufficiently clothed to see visitors.
      ‘‘Hello, miss? Are you decent?’’
      • ‘Over the weekend I tend to wander around in my pyjamas, contact lenses not yet inserted, until after breakfast, before attempting to dress and get decent.’
      • ‘"Yeah, well I'm glad one person is half decent here besides myself.’
      • ‘Now go get yourself decent, I'll call a cab’
      • ‘‘Lyn are you there?’ Andrea said knocking. ‘Are you decent?’’
  • 2attributive Of an acceptable standard; satisfactory.

    ‘people need decent homes’
    • ‘The truth is, most lawyers in Canada make a decent, modest living.’
    • ‘They use cheap materials and actually destroy a lot of decent furniture and fittings in the process - if something is considered unfashionable it gets taken out or painted over.’
    • ‘The eight English clubs with the most money should really compete for the European places if they have a half decent manager and appropriate board level backing.’
    • ‘They were both pretty ordinary, lived normal lives, made satisfactory grades and were decent looking.’
    • ‘Don't get me wrong I'm not a habititual complainer, but I expect to be given a decent service and politeness, not much to ask is it?’
    • ‘The text is a decent size; leading satisfactory; and it's longish - nearly 400 pages - but not too long.’
    • ‘A decent crowd of 1,526 witnessed something of a shock result, but really the game was as one-sided as anything seen at Cougar Park this season.’
    • ‘The defense has been respectable and the pitching decent.’
    • ‘As always I struck up a conversation with the barista, commenting it had been three days since I'd had a decent cup of coffee.’
    • ‘We want clean, quiet hospital wards with appropriate privacy and decent food.’
    • ‘Anthony Fedorov has a decent voice, but he's more likely to make it through on sympathy votes.’
    • ‘Quite how authentically Tunisian the snake charmers, contortionists and belly dancers were I don't know, but it was a good laugh and the meal was decent enough.’
    • ‘We don't have a preference for any particular part of town, just a nice B&B with decent Tube access.’
    • ‘Naples suffers from a dearth of decent affordable accommodation.’
    • ‘Those of us who depend on a decent public transport service are entitled to ask Mr Hughes for a list of those bus routes he intends to chop if he is elected.’
    • ‘Leeds Council has been working successfully for a number of years with many responsible landlords who provide decent accommodation.’
    • ‘Many women are angry that the system fails to give them a decent income and it is an issue that is likely to affect their votes on polling day.’
    • ‘A respected international footballer speaking decent Spanish and enjoying life in Madrid should shut up both the snobs and the Europhobes.’
    • ‘Try as I would, I couldn't seem to make a decent cup of tea, and it even looked odd - a dismal grey instead of a healthy brown.’
    • ‘Without a decent road network and fitting sewerage system, Livingstone is bound to not only lose out on increased numbers of tourists but also job creation.’
    satisfactory, reasonable, fair, acceptable, adequate, sufficient, sufficiently good, good enough, ample, up to scratch, up to the mark, up to standard, up to par, competent, not bad, all right, average, tolerable, passable, suitable
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    1. 2.1 Good.
      ‘there's a few decent players in the team’
      • ‘It's fair to say that a few decent shops would be nice and many areas of the town could do with a facelift, but that does not mean we live in misery and squalor.’
      • ‘She is offering to get me the Vegas Video 4.0 upgrade for my services, and that means decent colour correction tools, which I'd kill for.’
      • ‘It was followed by a decent Caesar salad, with a tangy dressing that was appropriately not too creamy after the pot of cheese we'd just consumed.’
      • ‘‘They are playing really well and they have some decent young players, so they are a hard team to play against,’ conceded Paul.’
      • ‘If you think for a minute that I don't want a nice house, a decent car, gadgets and remote controls, then you've really got the wrong idea.’
      • ‘Apart from being a decent player, he's also a nice lad and is the skipper this year.’
      • ‘It's as good a day as I've had in football, and I was lucky enough to have some decent days as a player.’
      • ‘Results are decent, the players are happy again, the club is doing well.’
      • ‘A person who loves watching movies can never be alone when they have a decent VHS or DVD player.’
      • ‘If you put all of those young players into the team at the same time, without some really decent players alongside them, you will lose.’
      • ‘It's been a disappointing season for us so far, so to have a decent run in the Cup is massive for us, and massive for the fans as well.’
      • ‘Now I am not going to complain if they do put more stuff out of this nature but I think that there is quite a lot already - maybe I would like at least one programme a night but some decent drama would be nice as well.’
      • ‘So, if you live not too far away, make sure it is on your list of places to visit next time you want to sit down to a decent meal and a nice glass of wine without breaking the bank.’
      • ‘In this vein, as well as the fact that this recipe is Ligurian in its history, it seemed only appropriate to post a decent pesto recipe.’
      • ‘Cash also plays its part in managerial success, but the £5m that Moyes has been given to spend represents no more than a down payment on a decent Premiership player.’
      • ‘What you have here is nice folks running a decent restaurant with unique food.’
      • ‘Because they have only a handful of decent players, trades have been hard to come by - you can't get something for nothing.’
      • ‘A decent game of football was never likely as both teams struggled to adapt to the atrocious conditions.’
      • ‘It's satisfying to get two decent, sustaining main meals for two hungry blokes out of one medium sized chicken.’
      • ‘Somehow, the York players transformed themselves into what we all know they have the potential to be - decent rugby players.’
    2. 2.2British informal Kind, obliging, or generous.
      ‘that's awfully decent of you’
      • ‘‘David was the best husband you could wish for; he was loving, dependable and considerate, a very decent man,’ she said.’
      • ‘I told her everything and she listened, which I thought was pretty decent of a total stranger who looked sober.’
      • ‘Lots of Tories hold a strange affection to the ageing leftie, and when I read the last volume of his diaries he came across as a very decent, generous fellow.’
      • ‘Tommie was regarded among all who knew him as a very decent and obliging man.’
      • ‘He's a decent bloke, kind, generous and gentle to a fault.’
      • ‘I enjoy Paul's company and judge him to be decent and generous-hearted.’
      • ‘We may disagree on much, but he's a thoughtful, decent man.’
      • ‘John and Rich were very decent though, agreeing to sleep on the lounge floor.’
      • ‘So let no-one say British people aren't decent, aren't generous.’
      • ‘Frank has always been approachable, a very honest, decent, generous man, with a great sense of humour too.’
      • ‘He was a grand decent neighbour, reliable and dependable, and one of the fine ‘old stock’ of the parish.’
      • ‘Brett has been Mr House Husband today, cooking dinner and now doing the washing up, which is very decent of him as I'm feeling a bit rough for some reason.’
      • ‘It was decent of him to apologize to you.’
      • ‘If you stick around and look underneath the make-up you just may find a very decent and worthy human being.’
      honourable, honest, trustworthy, dependable, worthy, respectable, upright, clean-living, incorrupt, virtuous, good, ethical, moral
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Phrases

  • do the decent thing

    • Take the most honourable or appropriate course of action, even if is not necessarily in one's own interests.

      ‘after his defeat he should do the decent thing and step down’
      • ‘It is high time that all concerned get off their horse and do the decent thing in the interest of the people.’
      • ‘You should do the decent thing and resign with immediate effect.’
      • ‘Everyone makes mistakes and when they do, responsible media outlets do the decent thing and retract, apologise and pay damages if necessary.’
      • ‘Joanna gets pregnant and Steve does the decent thing; he marries her.’
      • ‘Politicians, on the other hand, are not generally known or recognised for doing the decent thing, most especially in the campaign leading up to a general election.’

Origin

Mid 16th century (in the sense ‘suitable, appropriate’): from Latin decent- ‘being fitting’, from the verb decere.

Pronunciation

decent

/ˈdiːs(ə)nt/