Definition of decorum in English:



  • 1Behavior in keeping with good taste and propriety.

    ‘you exhibit remarkable modesty and decorum’
    • ‘Lowe takes up issues of deportment: the students at both Spelman and Cornell carefully controlled their body movements to display modesty and decorum.’
    • ‘Although she is clothed modestly and moves with decorum, her song is about her happy anticipation of her wedding night.’
    • ‘Parents gave their children privacy to court alone, often removing themselves from the parlor, trusting that decorum would prevent improper behavior.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘‘They are patterns of behaviour or patterns of decorum that we all have,’ says MacArthur.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I must say that the chairman handled the job with decorum and taste, and with the dignity required of him.’
    • ‘Of course, if you conduct yourself with impeccable taste and decorum, you will soon bore the reporters, and they will stop covering you.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘All Hindu women, respecting customs of decorum and demureness, refrain from drinking alcohol in public.’
    • ‘But faith in the classical virtues of decorum and modesty remained with him until his death.’
    • ‘She added: ‘When he stood up to questions in court he held himself with dignity and decorum.’’
    • ‘There was a certain lack of decorum and taste at the Daily Record last week.’
    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’
      • ‘Levis hid behind the conventions and decorum of poetry to disarm his readers and plunder their hearts.’
      • ‘Indeed, the decorum and etiquette long associated with the game at all levels seem to be losing ground all too quickly.’
      • ‘Boswell proved, too, surprisingly sure of himself in matters of taste and artistic decorum.’
      • ‘Do I think I could contain myself and restrain myself with the proper amount of professional decorum?’
      • ‘On the trek across the Sahara it was vital that decorum, etiquette and social graces were left at the airport!’
      • ‘You don't have to follow the rules of social decorum or the niceties of society because you are privileged.’
      • ‘In Delhi, retaining a customer's forgotten belongings is against business decorum.’
      • ‘I prefer my men with a sense of good taste and decorum that you have yet to demonstrate.’
      • ‘He showed no respect for party decorum, challenging a sitting Republican president who he felt was too moderate.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He said, ‘In golf, customs of etiquette and decorum are just as important as rules governing play.’’
      • ‘The entire island was designated a naval base, and villagers were expected to conform to naval standards of hygiene and decorum.’
      • ‘Some two thousand years later, in addition to guidelines on decorum, the Bible set specific protocol for preparing and consuming food.’
      etiquette, protocol, customary behaviour, good form, custom, convention, conformity, conventionality, usage, ritual
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    2. 1.2usually decorumsarchaic A particular requirement of good taste and propriety.
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
    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’.