decorum


decorum
decorum, decency, propriety, dignity, etiquette are comparable either when they mean a code of rules respecting what is right, fitting, or honorable in behavior or, more often, when they mean the quality or character of lightness, fitness, or honorableness in behavior resulting from the observance of such a code. The first three words are somewhat literary; the last two are the most common in speech. Both decorum and decency imply that the code is based upon the nature of things or the circumstances which attend them, and therefore the rules which it embodies have their basis in nature or sound reason.
Decorum especially suggests a code of rigid rules or laws governing the behavior of civilized men under given or understood conditions
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if gentlemen of that profession [the army] were at least obliged to some external decorum in their conduct— Swift

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that continual breach of . . . decorum which, in exposing his wife to the contempt of her own children, was so highly reprehensible— Austen

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he enjoyed a distinguished reputation for the excellence of his sermons, for the conduct of his diocese . . . and for the decorum and devotion of his private life— T. S. Eliot

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The term may suggest also order, moderation, and a high degree of intelligibility as a basis of literary or artistic beauty
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that decorum and orderliness without which all written speech must be ineffective and obscure— Ellis

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Decency often stresses a freedom from immodesty or obscenity
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decency in dress

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decency in conduct

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It may imply a seemliness or appropriateness that is based upon the right relation of one thing to another (as of a person to his profession, rank, or condition in life or of a thing to its use or end)
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for himself, Father Joseph was scarcely acquisitive to the point of decency. He owned nothing in the world but his mule— Cat her

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there are those . . . for whom St. Paul's [in London], in comparison with St. Peter's [in Rome], is not lacking in decencyT. S. Eliot

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there were May [his wife], and habit, and honor, and all the old decencies that he and his people had always believed in— Wharton

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Propriety stresses conformity to a standard of what is proper or correct. When used in reference to language, it implies a regard for the established meanings of words and a refusal to accept what is not countenanced by good usage
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the severe propriety of his diction

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More often the word refers to social matters and implies adherence or conformity to a code respecting conduct or manners accepted as correct, proper, and essential by either the generality or a particular class of society
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my whole life has been at variance with propriety, not to say decency— Byron

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in the reign of James I the conduct of ladies and gentlemen was not marked by the same prim propriety as in the reign of the highly respectable Victoria— Ellis

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with characteristic independence she had made her reception rooms upstairs and established herself (in flagrant violation of all the New York proprieties) on the ground floor of her house— Wharton

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Propriety is sometimes preferred to decency when merely seemly or fitting correctness (and not conformity to convention) is implied
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the propriety and necessity of preventing interference with the course of justice— Justice Holmes

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Dignity (see also ELEGANCE) seldom applies directly to a code or a rule but it does often denote a state of being that arises from obedience to what one, one's class, or one's profession regards as elevated, noble, or in full accordance with his rank, status, or position, and thereby it implies governance by â code or by forces which often correspond to the decencies or proprieties
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lost his dignity

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not in accord with the dignity of man as a son of God

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I had half a mind to save my dignity by telling him thatConrad

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it is of the essence of real dignity to be self-sustained, and no man's dignity can be asserted without being impaired— Henry Taylor

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Etiquette is the usual term for the code of manners and behavior governing one's conduct in society or in particular circumstances (as in a court or legislature). It may replace propriety, for the conventional observance of these rules
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trained in the complex etiquette and protocol of the Diplomatic Corps

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unaware of the etiquette governing the setting of a table for a formal dinner

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the pompous etiquette of the court— Prescott

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Augustus had kept to the strict constitutional etiquette, indicating his preference but leaving the choice of his successor to the SenatqBuchan

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Analogous words: formality, conventionality, ceremoniousness, solemnity (see corresponding adjectives at CEREMONIAL): *form, convention, convenance, usage
Antonyms: indecorum: license

New Dictionary of Synonyms. 2014.

Synonyms:

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  • décorum — [ dekɔrɔm ] n. m. sing. • 1587; lat. decorum, de decere « convenir » ♦ Ensemble des règles qu il convient d observer pour tenir son rang dans une bonne société. ⇒ bienséance, cérémonial, protocole. Observer le décorum. « Ici, pour le décorum, il… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Decorum — oder Dekorum (lat. = das, was sich ziemt) bezeichnet ein Prinzip der antiken Rhetorik und umfasst das Schickliche und Angemessene sowohl in der öffentlichen Rede und der Dichtkunst als auch im Verhalten (lat. = decorum vitae). Eine Sache oder ein …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Decorum — De*cor um, n. [L. dec[=o]rum, fr. dec[=o]rus. See {Decorous}.] Propriety of manner or conduct; grace arising from suitableness of speech and behavior to one s own character, or to the place and occasion; decency of conduct; seemliness; that which …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • decorum — I noun act demanded by social custom, amenability, amenableness, amenities, appropriate behavior, appropriateness, best behavior, best of taste, bienseance, civility, civilized behavior, code of what is fitting, conduct, conformity, consideration …   Law dictionary

  • decorum — decórum s. n. Trimis de siveco, 10.08.2004. Sursa: Dicţionar ortografic  DECÓRUM s. n. (în poezia epică şi dramatică) grijă pentru respectarea trăsăturilor generale ale caracterului. (< lat. decorum) Trimis de raduborza, 15.09.2007. Sursa:… …   Dicționar Român

  • decorum — [di kôr′əm] n. [L, neut. of decorus, fit, proper < decor: see DÉCOR] 1. propriety and good taste in behavior, dress, etc. 2. an act or requirement of polite behavior often used in pl. SYN. DECORUM implies stiffness or formality in rules of… …   English World dictionary

  • Decorum — Decorum, der Anstand, die Schicklichkeit, die man zu beobachten, und in einer gebildeten Gesellschaft nicht aus den Augen zu setzen hat. Das Decorum verletzen, heißt, sich über gewisse angenommene Formen erheben, die der gesellige Umgang… …   Damen Conversations Lexikon

  • decorum — DECORUM. s. mas. Terme purement Latin, qui n est guère d usage qu en cette phrase, Garder le decorum, qui signifie, Garder les bienséances …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie Française 1798

  • decorum — (n.) 1560s, from L. decorum that which is seemly, properly neuter of adj. decorus fit, proper, from decor (see DECOR (Cf. decor)) …   Etymology dictionary

  • decorum — Decorum. s. m. Terme purement Latin, qui n a d usage qu en cette phrase. Garder le decorum, Qui signifie, garder la bienseance exterieure, garder les apparences …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie française


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