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From Latin decentia, from decens. Compare French décence. See decent.



decency (countable and uncountable, plural decencies)

  1. The quality of being decent; propriety.
    • (Can we date this quote?) Burke
      Observances of time, place, and of decency in general.
    • (Can we date this quote?), Wentworth Dillon, (Please provide the book title or journal name):
      Immodest words admit of no defence, / For want of decency is want of sense.
    • 1954 June, Joseph N. Welch.
      Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?
    • 2016, John Oliver, “Journalism”, in Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, season 3, episode 20, written by Tim Carvell; Josh Gondelman; Dan Gurewitch; Jeff Maurer; Ben Silva; Will Tracy; Jill Twiss; Seena Vali; Julie Weiner, HBO, Warner Bros. Television:
      Now, what is interesting about that poem is nothing. But, what is relevant about it is that his muse is his wife, Marcela, who is 42 years younger than him. He is 75, she is 33. And I’ll say this, at least when 70-something American politicians get creepily handsy with 30-something women, they have the decency to do so with their own daughters. Have some class, Brazil! Have some class!
  2. That which is proper or becoming.
    • (Can we date this quote?) Atterbury
      The external decencies of worship.
    • (Can we date this quote?) John Milton
      Those thousand decencies, that daily flow / From all her words and actions.


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