Wordy Wednesday: Decadent

Happy Wednesday Everyone!

This week’s Wordy Wednesday is a word that has confused me since I was a kid.  What is this word exactly?  That word is decadent.  Let’s learn about this word!

Decadent is how most people describe a delicious desert or a meal.  It is one of those funny words that has changed meanings so that it means basically the exact opposite of its original meaning.  Today when ones says that something is decadent it means that it is of a higher class than normal.  It is a luxury item.  However, the original meaning was that something was morally or culturally wrong or degrading.  This is because the word decadent and decadence come from the Latin decadō.  The word decadō means to fall, to sink, or to decline.

How does this word have such a strange meaning?  Well, this word has the same root word as the word decay.  Yep, the word decay and decadent have the same root word decadō.   That is what confused me so much when I was younger.  If they have the same root word, why do they have such drastically different meanings?  Truth is, they originally did not.  Decay and decadent had very similar meanings.  However, since there was a period of time where people felt like the upper class with their lavish and luxurious lifestyles were the cause of moral and cultural decay.  Things that were decadent were seen as being negative and most of the time those were luxury items.  This reference stuck and now we have the odd meaning of decadent being something delightful and not bad. 

So, there you have it.  Until next time!