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[in-dee-suh nt] /ɪnˈdi sənt/
offending against generally accepted standards of propriety or good taste; improper; vulgar:
indecent jokes; indecent language; indecent behavior.
not decent; unbecoming or unseemly:
indecent haste.
Origin of indecent
1555-65; < Latin indecent- (stem of indecēns) unseemly. See in-3, decent
Related forms
indecently, adverb
1. distasteful, immodest, indecorous, indelicate; coarse, outrageous, rude, gross; obscene, filthy, lewd, licentious. See improper. 2. inappropriate.
2. appropriate; becoming. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for indecent
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Nothing annoyed Soames so much as cheerfulness—an indecent, extravagant sort of quality, which had no relation to facts.

    The Forsyte Saga, Complete John Galsworthy
  • A new fashion of dress seems at first to be absurd, ungraceful, or indecent.

    Folkways William Graham Sumner
  • The indecent practices of these mediums made it necessary to seek darkness to cover their vileness.

    Is the Devil a Myth? C. F. Wimberly
  • No fashion was adopted because it would have an indecent effect.

    Folkways William Graham Sumner
  • The golden streets will not be torn up and we need be in no indecent haste to travel even on them.

British Dictionary definitions for indecent


offensive to standards of decency, esp in sexual matters
unseemly or improper (esp in the phrase indecent haste)
Derived Forms
indecently, adverb
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 indecent

1560s, "unbecoming, in bad taste," from French indécent (14c.), from Latin indecentem (nominative indecens), from in- "not, opposite of, without" (see in- (1)) + decens (see decent). Sense of "offending against propriety" is from 1610s. Indecent assault (1861) originally covered sexual assaults other than rape or intended rape, but by 1934 it was being used as a euphemism for "rape." Related: Indecently

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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