Difficult Words : Decimate, Decadent, Decorous, Deduce, Defame and Deference

Difficult Words : Decimate, Decadent, Decorous, Deduce, Defame and Deference

Decadent (DEK uh dunt) adj: decaying or decayed, especially in terms of morals

A Person who engages in decadent behavior is a person whose morals have decayed or fallen into ruin.

Spending the time in local bars instead of going to class is decadent.

Decadent behavior is often an affectation of bored young people.


Decimate (DES uh MATE) v: to kill or destroy a large part of

To decimate an army is to come close to wiping it out.

When locusts attack a crop, they sometimes decimate it, leaving very little that's fit for human consumption.

You might say in jest that your family had decimated its turkey dinner on Thanksgiving, leaving nothing but a few crumbs and a pile of bones.


Decorous (DEK ur us, di KORE us) adj: proper; in good taste; orderly

Decorous behavior is good, polite and orderly behavior.

To be decorous is to be sober and tasteful.

The New Year's Eve crowd was relatively decorous until midnight, when they went wild.

To behave decorously is to behave with decorum.


Deduce (di DOOS) v: to conclude from the evidence; to infer

To deduce something is to conclude it without being told it directly.

From the footprints on the ground, the detective deduced that the criminal had feet.

Nancy deduced from the gun in Sluggo's hand that all was not well with their relationship.

Daffy deduced from the shape of its bill that the duck was really a chicken.

That the duck was really a chicken was Daffy's deduction.


Defame (di FAME) v: to libel or slander; to ruin the good name of

To defame someone is to make accusations that harm the person's reputation

The local businessman accused the newspaper of defaming him by publishing an article that said his company was poorly managed.

To defame is to take away fame, to take away a good name.

To suffer such a loss of reputation is to suffer defamation. The businessman who believed he had been defamed by the newspaper sued the paper's publisher for defamation.


Deference (DEF ur uns) n: submission to another's will, respect; courtesy

To show deference to another is to place that person's wishes ahead of your own.

The young man showed deference to his grandfather. He let the old man have first dibs on the birthday cake.

Herby stopped dancing at the dinner table in deference to the wishes of his mother.

To show deference to another is to defer to that person. Joe was supposed to go first, but he deferred to Steve who had been waiting longer.

To show deference is also to be deferential. Joe was being deferential when he allowed Steve to go first.

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