adjective \ˈkär-nəl\

: of or relating to the body : sexual or sensual

Full Definition of CARNAL

a :  relating to or given to crude bodily pleasures and appetites
b :  marked by sexuality <carnal love>
:  bodily, corporeal <seen with carnal eyes>
a :  temporal <carnal weapons>
b :  worldly <a carnal mind>
car·nal·i·ty \kär-ˈna-lə-tē\ noun
car·nal·ly \ˈkär-nə-lē\ adverb

Examples of CARNAL

  1. <the preacher warned that those who were interested only in carnal pursuits would not see the kingdom of heaven>
  2. <a missionary who tends to the carnal needs of the people as well as to their spiritual concerns>

Origin of CARNAL

Middle English, from Anglo-French or Late Latin; Anglo-French carnel, charnel, from Late Latin carnalis, from Latin carn-, caro flesh; akin to Greek keirein to cut — more at shear
First Known Use: 14th century

Synonym Discussion of CARNAL

carnal, fleshly, sensual, animal mean having a relation to the body. carnal may mean only this but more often connotes derogatorily an action or manifestation of a person's lower nature <a slave to carnal desires>. fleshly is less derogatory than carnal <a saint who had experienced fleshly temptations>. sensual may apply to any gratification of a bodily desire or pleasure but commonly implies sexual appetite with absence of the spiritual or intellectual <fleshpots providing sensual delights>. animal stresses the physical as distinguished from the rational nature of a person <led a mindless animal existence>.

Rhymes with CARNAL


Next Word in the Dictionary: carnal abuse
Previous Word in the Dictionary: carnage
All Words Near: carnal

Seen & Heard

What made you want to look up carnal? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

Get Our Free Apps
Voice Search, Favorites,
Word of the Day, and More
Join Us on FB & Twitter
Get the Word of the Day and More