decent

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Middle French décent, or its source, Latin decēns, present participle of decet (it is fitting or suitable), from Proto-Indo-European *deke-, from base *dek- (to take, accept, to receive, greet, be suitable) (compare Ancient Greek δοκεῖν (dokein, to appear, seem, think), δέχεσθαι (dekhesthai, to accept); [Devanagari?] Sanskrit dacasyati (shows honor, is gracious), dacati (makes offerings, bestows)). Meaning kind, pleasant is from 1902.

Pronunciation[edit]

Adjective[edit]

decent (comparative more decent, superlative most decent)

  1. (obsolete) Appropriate; suitable for the circumstances.
  2. (of a person) Having a suitable conformity to basic moral standards; showing integrity, fairness, or other characteristics associated with moral uprightness.
  3. Sufficiently clothed or dressed to be seen.
    Are you decent? May I come in?
  4. Fair; good enough; okay.
    • 1963, Margery Allingham, “Foreword”, in The China Governess[1]:
      A canister of flour from the kitchen had been thrown at the looking-glass and lay like trampled snow over the remains of a decent blue suit with the lining ripped out which lay on top of the ruin of a plastic wardrobe.
    He's a decent saxophonist, but probably not good enough to make a career of it.
  5. Significant; substantial.
    There are a decent number of references out there, if you can find them.
  6. (obsolete) Comely; shapely; well-formed.
    • A sable stole of cyprus lawn / Over thy decent shoulders drawn — Milton.

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