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.

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    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? Apr 2, 2020 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, 2020 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, 2020 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, 2020 at 19:02

9 Answers 9


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.

  • What is the difference between a hedonist and sybarite?
    – hossein
    Apr 2, 2020 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. Apr 2, 2020 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. Apr 2, 2020 at 17:12
  • But hedonist and sybarite are both rather positive, IMHO :-)
    – jamesqf
    Apr 2, 2020 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, 2020 at 20:21

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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    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, 2020 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, 2020 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, 2020 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, 2020 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. Apr 2, 2020 at 13:11

One possible word not already given in comments is


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:

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

  • 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, 2020 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. Apr 4, 2020 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, 2020 at 13:09
  • @detuur also, the Merriam-Webster definition I posted includes: to lead away from virtue or excellence. Apr 4, 2020 at 13:18

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."


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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    Worldly is usually not a negative but a positive. Meaning experienced, or sophisticated. Apr 1, 2020 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, 2020 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. Apr 2, 2020 at 3:42
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    OP's question is closely related to religious concepts (spirituality) and so is worldly. Apr 2, 2020 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, 2020 at 2:01

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; were I to deride someone I would probably say jaded sybarite wallowing in carnal decadence.

The Spartan and Sybarite
Battle in me day and night;
Evenly matched, relentless, wary,
Each one cursing his adversary,
    — Conflict, Sara Teasdale (with delighted thanks to Conrado)

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    "The Spartan and Sybarite Battle in me day and night; Evenly matched, relentless, wary, Each one cursing his adversary,..." Conflict, Sara Teasdale.
    – Conrado
    Jul 31, 2020 at 18:30

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.


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

Sardanapalus was a king who over indulged in earthly delights and died in an orgy.

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    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). Apr 2, 2020 at 19:28

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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