7

To the extent that the person becomes neglectful of all else, including ethics, rights, etc.?

Example: Those who are [word] are so indulged in satisfying their whims and desires that they forget that death shall soon arrive, separating them from all they acquired and delivering them to a stage of reckoning and justice for all the injustice and cruelty they committed.

  • 1
    OP your use of "Earthly" is unusual and does not jibe with your use of "ethics" and "rights". Now it may mean something to your religious teachers, but it's not a common use. Could you possibly edit to rephrase more clearly please? – Harper - Reinstate Monica Apr 2 at 5:40
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    As opposed to what? Some will argue that the world is all there is, so this concept doesn't make much sense. – user91988 Apr 2 at 15:07
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    Downvoted because it proceeds from the assumption of particular religious beliefs, e.g. that it's possible to overindulge &c, making it more suited for the site of your particular religion. – jamesqf Apr 2 at 18:52
  • Is this more about being concerned with earthly desires than an afterlife or about fulfilling desires at the expense of other people? Your example sentence implies both, but there could be different words depending on which part you wish to emphasize. Your example also doesn't really need your requested word at all. It reads more like a definition than an example usage. – Kat Apr 3 at 19:02

10 Answers 10

39

My first thought was Hedonist. Oxford (linked on the word) gives the definition as “A person who believes that the pursuit of pleasure is the most important thing in life; a pleasure-seeker”, which doesn’t include the implications of ignoring or neglecting things beyond pleasure, but is nevertheless generally perceived as negative.

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  • What is the difference between a hedonist and sybarite? – hossein Apr 2 at 9:22
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    @hossein - You might want to consider putting that question to Google and getting an answer first-hand rather than relying on my interpretation. – Jeff Zeitlin Apr 2 at 11:29
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    @hossein -- The difference is hedonist is used much more than sybarite. Consider your audience, less people will know the word sybarite than hedonist. – Ryan Donovan Apr 2 at 17:12
  • But hedonist and sybarite are both rather positive, IMHO :-) – jamesqf Apr 2 at 18:53
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    @jamesqf, I have heard the term "hedonism" used in contexts that imply selfishness. The term itself does not pass judgement, but people view hedonism through the lens of their own moral worldview. Some people believe everyone should enjoy life as much as possible. Other people believe that self-restraint and a simple lifestyle is better. Depending on your own world view, hedonism could range from very good, to very bad. – Kyle A Apr 2 at 20:21
25

One option is: decadent.

One of Wiktionary's definitions is:

Luxuriously self-indulgent

which seems to cover the intended meaning well.

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  • 2
    Wiktionary is not a proper dictionary; people who run it have no idea what they are doing. The best ones out there are of the sorts of Oxford and Cambridge (which don’t confirm your definition); or at least Merriam-Webster (that confirms your definition). – user379640 Apr 1 at 23:15
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    @William the OED definition is woefully out of date. Decadent used to mean self-indulgent, wasteful, or excessively luxurious is common in English. Wiktionary is updated much more rapidly than the OED, which is one reason it's not banned from use on this site as a reference. – barbecue Apr 2 at 0:55
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    @barbecue Just because it’s not banned, it doesn’t mean it’s good by any standard. And updating quickly according to what? If it’s not registered in a proper dictionary, it’s most likely not how you use the word, otherwise we’re justifying absurd stuff people say in the new world such as “djuuude like I just like literaly left the gym”. There’s a plethora of examples on wiktionary that’ll show you that it’s as trustworthy of a source on English as an ESL on B1 level. – user379640 Apr 2 at 1:37
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    Anyhow, the word OP is looking for is “hedonist” or “debauchery”, the proper meaning of “decadent” is “one that’s currently decaying”, as it’s the present participle of the verb to “decadere” (to decay). – user379640 Apr 2 at 1:40
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    @hossein Just so you know, nobody except William is complaining about this word (I can see the downvotes and nobody downvoted this answer (William would've probably if he was allowed)). Not saying that makes it a good fit for your example sentence, but the meaning described in this answer is definitely used in normal english. If you go here and click "more example sentences" you can find a bunch of examples. – David Mulder Apr 2 at 13:11
21

One possible word not already given in comments is

debauched
ADJECTIVE

Indulging in or characterized by excessive indulgence in sex, alcohol, or drugs.
The result is a debased, debauched culture which finds moral depravity entertaining and virtue contemptible.

This word perhaps suits the value judgement inherent in the question.

Those who are debauched are so indulged in satisfying their whims and desires that they forget that death shall soon arrive, separating them from all they acquired and delivering them to a stage of reckoning and justice for all the injustice and cruelty they committed.

From Lexico.


Merriam-Webster has a broader definition:

debauch
transitive verb
1a : to corrupt by intemperance or sensuality
1b : to lead away from virtue or excellence

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  • I don't think this fits the definition. "Debauchery" is mainly used in contexts where the sheer excess of the self-indulgence is looked down upon. In these contexts, the excesses are usually also closely linked to great wealth and expenditure, to the point that I've never seen a poor person being accused of debauchery. Debauchery also does not necessarily imply an abandonment of spiritual concerns, which is what I believe OP is mostly looking for. – detuur Apr 4 at 2:03
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    @detuur sex and drugs and rock 'n' roll are available to anyone, they are not just the province of the wealthy. – Weather Vane Apr 4 at 8:31
  • @detuur: OP asked for a general word that can be used in the context of spiritual vs. natural concerns. That is, unless you say that right and ethics depend on religión. And even the simple things in life provide the opportunity to over-indulge an appetite, by a variety of criteria-not only spiritual. – Conrado Apr 4 at 13:09
  • @detuur also, the Merriam-Webster definition I posted includes: to lead away from virtue or excellence. – Weather Vane Apr 4 at 13:18
7

Try sybarite (n) or sybaritic (adj).

sybarite n
1. A person devoted to pleasure and luxury; a voluptuary.
TFD Online

The word comes from Sybaris, a city of ancient Greece, which, according to Wikipedia, "amassed great wealth thanks to its fertile land and busy port. Its inhabitants became famous among the Greeks for their hedonism, feasts, and excesses, to the extent that "sybarite" and "sybaritic" have become bywords for opulence, luxury and outrageous pleasure-seeking."

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6

Those who are [word] are so indulged in satisfying their whims and desires that they forget that death shall soon arrive...

I think the word you're looking for is worldly.

Worldly (adj): relating to or consisting of physical things and ordinary life rather than spiritual things.

Worldly (adj): worldly is used to describe things relating to the ordinary activities of life, rather than to spiritual things.

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  • 3
    Worldly is usually not a negative but a positive. Meaning experienced, or sophisticated. – Ponder Stibbons Apr 1 at 23:15
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    @PonderStibbons It's a negative in this context. I've definitely heard it being used this way in Christian circles, and everybody understood that it wasn't a good thing. – nick012000 Apr 2 at 1:32
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    I guessed that, but it feels like a minority usage - just saying. I mean other than in a spiritual context, where I would consider it to be Jargon, it is typically intended in a positive manner. And so, would not satisfy the OPs requirements. – Ponder Stibbons Apr 2 at 3:42
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    OP's question is closely related to religious concepts (spirituality) and so is worldly. – Decapitated Soul Apr 2 at 5:19
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    "Worldly" used to be my go-to word for this, but I've learned that other people use it as a compliment. It's not unambiguous. I don't know which is more common among all speakers. – Jetpack Apr 3 at 2:01
4

How about "carnal"?

Carnal literally means "of the flesh" and has considerable emotional baggage associated with it. "Sybaritic" is more accurate, being broader in scope, but is less accessible to the unwashed masses. It is also less negative in connotation.

A second reading of the question suggests that the intended sense is that the subject has overdone it. Therefore, I propose "jaded". This is a bit mild; if I were deriding someone for such conduct I would probably call him a jaded sybarite wallowing in carnal decadence.

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1

Here's one in its verb form, with a collection of synonyms from thesaurus.net.

sate (verb) gorge, glut, cloy, stuff, overfill, satiate, surfeit, satisfy, gratify.

It is, perhaps, a bit distorted from its etymological roots, as etymonline says that

sate (v.)

"to satisfy, surfeit," c. 1600, alteration (by influence of Latin satiare "satiate"

comes from a root that means simply "fill", without necessarily overfilling. However, it is a fine line. I know from experiences that the difference Is only one doughnut.

Here are a few corresponding adjectives: sated, gorged, glutted, surfeited.

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0

That person would be said to be a Sardanapalus. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sardanapalus

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  • 1
    Welcome to English Language and Usage. Please take the tour and when you have a moment, read-up in the help center about how we work. Nice first post which could be improved by a brief summary of the content of the link (links don't last forever). – Bitter dreggs. Apr 2 at 19:28
0

Temporal is the word that you seek because it delivers the meaning that you intend without having a familiar positive meaning attached to it, like the word worldly.

This word is also much more accurate than all the words that focus on pleasure because you do not need to be a hedonist in order to be temporal!

Think about it: You can be perfectly hardworking yet feverishly attached just to this world, its tangible, materialistic benefits and results. You can work so hard to accumulate as much money and gold as possible for this world, thus being temporal, without really having any significant amount of fun with that money.

In short, you can be a hardworking, stoic secularist; you can be temporal and allergic to pleasure, or temporal and hedonistic.

temporal (adj.)

  • of or relating to time.
  • pertaining to or concerned with the present life or this world; worldly: temporal joys.
  • enduring for a time only; temporary; transitory (opposed to eternal).
  • secular, lay, or civil, as opposed to ecclesiastical.
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-1

Atheist.

This seems to be a religiously motivated question, albeit with a significant amount of assumption on my part, but I think still fair given the OP question and detail:

  1. The OP question asks about "Earthly life" [sic, with capitalized "Earthly"]

  2. The OP example references "delivering them to a stage of reckoning and justice".

Both of these items are very religious in nature and don't refer to anything clearly defined or specifiable. Given that the OP is asking for a negative portrayal, it's reasonable to conclude that he/she is looking to negatively portray those with different religious beliefs from his/her own beliefs. Since the particulars of those beliefs aren't given here, the safest negative portrayal would be to would be to label people fitting this description as "atheist", and thus negatively perceived by any religious denomination.

The American Atheists definition suffices:

https://www.atheists.org/activism/resources/about-atheism/

To be clear about answering the OP, does the above definition imply a negative connotation of people in search of "Earthly" things? I think it does by implied definition of "Earthly" if you interpret that to mean non-religiously-dictated goals. Who could possibly be worse, in the eyes of the religiously motivated, than those who are motivated from non-religious sources?

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  • Welcome to ELU. Please take a moment to take a tour of the site. Can you cite the definition of the word in your answer to clarify or justify your response? – livresque Apr 4 at 2:17
  • @livresque do you mean the word "atheist"? I hardly thought it could be a contentious defintiion, but if there's any doubt about what I mean by that word I'd be happy to elaborate. – Paul Galbraith Apr 4 at 2:20
  • Not at all, but it looks like your answer defines "atheist" as a someone who doesn't hold the religious beliefs of the author of the given example (or the OP, unclear who you mean). – livresque Apr 4 at 2:26
  • Yes, but given that those beliefs are assumed and unspecified, my meaning is non-belief in any religious assertion. Perhaps I should say "unsubstantiated religious assertion" to be more clear, but I don't think there's any need in this case to bicker over the meaning of atheist. I think the more important question is whether I'm correct (or not) in my suspicion that this is a religiously motivated question, whose OP is searching for a way to negatively paint those who don't subscribe to the same religious beliefs as the OP. – Paul Galbraith Apr 4 at 2:37
  • The original OP question asks about "Earthly life" [sic, with capitalized "Earthly", which really requires further definition], and then goes on in example to question "delivering them to a stage of reckoning and justice". In my mind, these are clearly religious references without further explanation. So I stand by my answer, "atheist" is clearly the most negative way to portray these people that the OP refers to. – Paul Galbraith Apr 4 at 2:52

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