Definition of decorous in English:



  • In keeping with good taste and propriety; polite and restrained.

    ‘dancing with decorous space between partners’
    • ‘The flag waving was decorous, the cheering polite and the umpire was never once insulted.’
    • ‘Reading this polished and sometimes decorous narrative, it is hard for the modern reader to see why it ever had such an impact.’
    • ‘Only after victory does he begin, clearly on the advice of his handlers, to adopt a more decorous manner.’
    • ‘Further in front, children receiving their First Communion displayed a mixture of decorous behaviour and occasional outbursts of cheerful chanting in praise of their hero.’
    • ‘In Tokyo's hothouse atmosphere decorous behaviour brought from home is jettisoned.’
    • ‘The young woman's acceptance of the cigarette, indoors and among her friends, was a statement of mild daring; during her wedding and the following celebrations, she was suitably decorous.’
    • ‘Store policies reveal a concern with establishing an orderly social space in which workers and consumers engaged in decorous, purposeful transactions.’
    • ‘Consequently, women are expected to be decorous, modest, and discreet.’
    • ‘‘It looks like a cowpat,’ said the decorous Englishman who ordered it, ‘but it tastes good.’’
    • ‘My general feelings toward Hollywood have changed dramatically for the better after a decorous Academy Awards presentation last night.’
    • ‘Agatha, Apted's next film, is a much more decorous and gentle crime film, a fictionalised version of the disappearance of mystery writer Agatha Christie in 1926.’
    • ‘We're not just talking about a polite and decorous way to find a New Year's date in a matter of mere weeks.’
    • ‘As she was singing - in a very decorous, quiet manner, in keeping with the Puritan distrust of the secular arts - her mother opened their back door.’
    • ‘If the result is a style that is overly mannered, decorous, cautious and middle-aged, then this is the price they pay for their infatuation.’
    • ‘Those who are constantly ‘nice’, seemly and decorous, suppress their natural instincts.’
    • ‘After all, she'd essentially refused to look him in the eye earlier, deciding to be proper and decorous instead of curious.’
    • ‘He then proceeded to eat his dinner using bread and his fingers in a decorous manner, much to my sons' delight and fascination.’
    • ‘His personality seemed in harmony with his mild decorous manner but it hid totally unsuspected depths.’
    • ‘Some of the sadhus were distinctly scary - like the Aghoris with their bells and boar tusks and magic mantras, who insulted their amused but decorous Nepalese audience.’
    • ‘Such a decorous manner of doing business is of course, oh so Edinburgh and oh so out of date.’
    proper, seemly, decent, becoming, befitting, tasteful, in good taste
    tactful, correct, appropriate, suitable, fitting, fit
    polite, well mannered, well behaved, genteel, refined, polished, well bred, dignified, respectable, courtly, civilized
    formal, reserved, modest, demure, sedate, staid, gentlemanly, ladylike
    comme il faut
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Mid 17th century (in the sense appropriate, seemly): from Latin decorus seemly + -ous.