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The Complete Vocabulary Builder Workbook



How to pronounce decadence (audio)

Dictionary definition of decadence

A state of moral, cultural, or societal decline marked by excessive self-indulgence, luxury, or moral decay.
"The empire's downfall was attributed to its leaders' excessive decadence and corruption."

Detailed meaning of decadence

It encompasses a sense of deterioration or decay, often characterized by a decline in traditional values, virtues, or principles. Decadence implies an overindulgence in pleasure-seeking, materialism, and hedonistic pursuits, often at the expense of personal responsibility or social well-being. It is commonly associated with the excessive display of wealth, lavish lifestyles, and a detachment from the realities and responsibilities of life. Decadence can manifest in various aspects of society, including art, literature, fashion, and social behavior, reflecting a sense of superficiality, shallowness, and moral emptiness. While the term can be subjective and open to interpretation, it generally conveys a negative connotation, suggesting a loss of discipline, moderation, and moral integrity, and serving as a critique of societal excesses.

Example sentences containing decadence

1. The opulent palace was the epitome of decadence, showcasing excessive luxury and indulgence.
2. The extravagant feast at the party exemplified the height of decadence and excess.
3. The society's decline into moral decadence was evident in its disregard for ethical principles.
4. The fashion show displayed a collection of garments that exuded decadence and extravagance.
5. The crumbling buildings were a reminder of the city's former glory, now lost to decadence and neglect.
6. The novel portrayed a world consumed by hedonism and moral decadence.

History and etymology of decadence

The noun 'decadence' has its etymological origins in the Latin word 'decadentia,' which is derived from 'decadens,' the present participle of 'decadere.' 'Decadere' is composed of two elements: 'de,' meaning 'down from' or 'away from,' and 'cadere,' meaning 'to fall' or 'to decline.' Therefore, 'decadentia' originally signified a falling away from a previous state of excellence or virtue. Over time, this Latin term evolved to describe a state of moral, cultural, or societal decline marked by excessive self-indulgence, luxury, or moral decay. The etymology of 'decadence' underscores its historical connection to the concept of falling away from a higher or more virtuous state, highlighting its role in describing periods or conditions characterized by a decline in moral and cultural standards.

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Further usage examples of decadence

1. The aristocracy's decadence contrasted sharply with the poverty and suffering of the lower classes.
2. The artist's paintings captured the essence of decay and decadence in modern society.
3. The rise of luxury brands reflected the growing demand for indulgence and decadence.
4. The nightclub was a hotspot for those seeking an evening of decadence and pleasure.
5. The writer's critique of society's decadence struck a chord with readers, sparking a debate on societal values.
6. The opulent palace symbolized the era's decadence.
7. Some critics argue that our society is in a state of moral decadence.
8. The decadence of the ancient empire led to its downfall.
9. The lavish party epitomized the decadence of the elite.
10. The decadence of the art world was evident in extravagant exhibitions.
11. A sense of decadence pervaded the extravagant feast.
12. The decline of traditional values was seen as a sign of decadence.
13. The novel explored the inner turmoil of a life steeped in decadence.
14. The decadence of the era was reflected in its fashion trends.
15. Critics lamented the decadence of contemporary literature.
16. The societal decadence was evident in the rise of hedonistic lifestyles.
17. The city's nightlife was a hub of hedonistic decadence.
18. Economic inequality was seen as a driver of societal decadence.
19. The film portrayed the tragic consequences of moral decadence.
20. The decadence of the ruling class led to unrest among the masses.
21. Art deco architecture reflected the era's sense of decadence.
22. The political scandal was a stark example of moral decadence.
23. Critics argued that technological advancements could lead to societal decadence.
24. The decadence of the aristocracy contrasted with the poverty of the masses.
25. The period of political decadence saw the rise of authoritarian regimes.



decline, ascendance, growth, improvement


Suffix -ence, SAT 17 (Scholastic Assessment Test), Decay and Degeneration, High School 8

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