Definition of decorum in English:



mass noun
  • 1Behaviour in keeping with good taste and propriety.

    ‘he had acted with the utmost decorum’
    • ‘But it was the women of the congregation who largely drew up the rules of propriety, decorum and morality, and exercised control or influence over the behaviour of their children.’
    • ‘Lowe takes up issues of deportment: the students at both Spelman and Cornell carefully controlled their body movements to display modesty and decorum.’
    • ‘‘They are patterns of behaviour or patterns of decorum that we all have,’ says MacArthur.’
    • ‘Of course, if you conduct yourself with impeccable taste and decorum, you will soon bore the reporters, and they will stop covering you.’
    • ‘Although she is clothed modestly and moves with decorum, her song is about her happy anticipation of her wedding night.’
    • ‘Our waitress, who came running after the hotel's front desk clerk saw us wandering around the dining room, was kind enough to observe the proper decorum for two people in our situation.’
    • ‘All Hindu women, respecting customs of decorum and demureness, refrain from drinking alcohol in public.’
    • ‘There was a certain lack of decorum and taste at the Daily Record last week.’
    • ‘Parents gave their children privacy to court alone, often removing themselves from the parlor, trusting that decorum would prevent improper behavior.’
    • ‘Asked to comment on his prospects for a first full cap, Hughes is coy - it clearly goes against his inherent sense of modesty and decorum.’
    • ‘She added: ‘When he stood up to questions in court he held himself with dignity and decorum.’’
    • ‘I must say that the chairman handled the job with decorum and taste, and with the dignity required of him.’
    • ‘But faith in the classical virtues of decorum and modesty remained with him until his death.’
    • ‘By performing the personal in public, talk-show guests transgress the boundaries of behavior and decorum deemed appropriate by middle-class society.’
    • ‘She also makes it clear why it was doomed, defying as it does every respectable idea about godly behaviour, sexual decorum, female carnality and nature itself.’
    propriety, properness, seemliness, decency, decorousness, good taste, correctness, appropriateness, appropriacy
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    1. 1.1 Etiquette.
      ‘he had no idea of funeral decorum’
      • ‘On the trek across the Sahara it was vital that decorum, etiquette and social graces were left at the airport!’
      • ‘The entire island was designated a naval base, and villagers were expected to conform to naval standards of hygiene and decorum.’
      • ‘He showed no respect for party decorum, challenging a sitting Republican president who he felt was too moderate.’
      • ‘Indeed, the decorum and etiquette long associated with the game at all levels seem to be losing ground all too quickly.’
      • ‘Some two thousand years later, in addition to guidelines on decorum, the Bible set specific protocol for preparing and consuming food.’
      • ‘You don't have to follow the rules of social decorum or the niceties of society because you are privileged.’
      • ‘The insult to one of the most senior members of the House, a Vietnam veteran, was a violation of the body's customary decorum as well as its rules, which bar members from directly addressing each other.’
      • ‘Do I think I could contain myself and restrain myself with the proper amount of professional decorum?’
      • ‘Levis hid behind the conventions and decorum of poetry to disarm his readers and plunder their hearts.’
      • ‘He said, ‘In golf, customs of etiquette and decorum are just as important as rules governing play.’’
      • ‘I prefer my men with a sense of good taste and decorum that you have yet to demonstrate.’
      • ‘Boswell proved, too, surprisingly sure of himself in matters of taste and artistic decorum.’
      • ‘In Delhi, retaining a customer's forgotten belongings is against business decorum.’
      etiquette, protocol, customary behaviour, good form, custom, convention, conformity, conventionality, usage, ritual
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    2. 1.2decorumsarchaic Particular requirements of good taste and propriety.
      • ‘So for any woman to engage this dynamic is to go against social decorums and stereotypes in such a way that she may find herself beyond the pale.’
      • ‘In this, the volume is representative of current scholarship generally - and with some reason: the earlier decades are certainly less overtly sexy than the later, and more shrouded by those fabled Victorian decorums.’
      • ‘Eighteenth-century novelists, such as William Goodall in his Adventures of Captain Greenland, frequently invoked Shakespeare as a precursor because he was felt to break literary decorums in much the same way as did the new form.’
      • ‘There is a parallel here with sensation fiction, another literary vogue of the 1860s and 1870s, in which criminality lurks beneath the surface decorums of daily life.’
    3. 1.3archaic Suitability to the requirements of a person, rank, or occasion.
      • ‘Since Nabokov showed no sign of responding, one of the witnesses "and he was echt deutsch, real German" tried to hint at the required decorum.’


Mid 16th century (as a literary term, denoting suitability of style): from Latin, neuter of the adjective decorus ‘seemly’.