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[dee-suh n-see] /ˈdi sən si/
noun, plural decencies.
the state or quality of being decent.
conformity to the recognized standard of propriety, good taste, modesty, etc.
  1. the recognized standards of decent or proper behavior; proprieties:
    The least you can expect from them is some respect for the decencies.
  2. the requirements or amenities for decent or comfortable living:
    to be able to afford the decencies.
Origin of decency
1560-70; < Latin decentia comeliness, decency, equivalent to decent- (stem of decēns) fitting (see decent) + -ia noun suffix
2. decorum, respectability, gentility. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for decency
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • But she is only cast into a slight shadow by these veils of decency and modesty; and so Truth should show her matronly bearing.

  • "Nothing but decency," he answered; and she had her reply ready for that.

    Alice Adams Booth Tarkington
  • A feeling of pity for mademoiselle—perhaps of no more than decency—now overcame Marius.

    St. Martin's Summer Rafael Sabatini
  • Ain't one of you cussed swabs got decency enough to fetch me a drink?

    Keziah Coffin Joseph C. Lincoln
  • A few of the Hun pilots have evinced certain elements of honor and decency.

    Flying for France James R. McConnell
British Dictionary definitions for decency


noun (pl) -cies
conformity to the prevailing standards of propriety, morality, modesty, etc
the quality of being decent
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for decency

1560s, "appropriateness," from Latin decentia "comeliness, decency," from decentem "becoming, fitting" (see decent). Meaning "modesty" (i.e. "appropriateness to standards of society") is from 1630s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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