car·​nal | \ ˈkär-nᵊl How to pronounce carnal (audio) \

Definition of carnal

1a : relating to or given to crude bodily pleasures and appetites gluttony and other carnal activities
b : marked by sexuality carnal love
2 : bodily, corporeal seen with carnal eyes
3a : temporal carnal weapons the superiority of the spiritual and eternal over the carnal— H. O. Taylor
b : worldly a carnal mind

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Other Words from carnal

carnality \ kär-​ˈna-​lə-​tē How to pronounce carnality (audio) \ noun
carnally \ ˈkär-​nə-​lē How to pronounce carnally (audio) \ adverb

Choose the Right Synonym for 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

Examples of carnal in a Sentence

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

Recent Examples on the Web

This area of your chart — known as the Eighth House — is also connected to our carnal desires. Aliza Kelly Faragher, Allure, "What September's Pisces Horoscope Means for You," 30 Aug. 2018 In September 2017, Osborn pleaded guilty to having carnal knowledge of the girl. Kaitlyn Schallhorn, Fox News, "Virginia judge who let rapist walk free sentences man in sex assault case to no jail time," 9 Aug. 2018 Louisiana's felony carnal knowledge law prohibits adults, people 17 or older, from having consensual intercourse with a person ages 13-16 if the offender is four years or more older than the victim. Michelle Hunter,, "2 men accused of sex encounters with juvenile met on Grindr," 9 Jan. 2018 And also his talents: Peak Timberlake was lithe, lightly carnal, effortless. Jon Caramanica, New York Times, "Justin Timberlake Looks Beyond the Pop Star Life on ‘Man of the Woods’," 31 Jan. 2018 Use this time to refine, adjust, and recommit to a carnal code that’s built to last. Bess Matassa, Teen Vogue, "Monthly Lovescopes July 2018," 2 July 2018 Each episode brings her to a different country in Asia, Europe and Africa to explore carnal taboos and norms. Sara Aridi, New York Times, "What’s on TV Saturday: ‘Sex & Love Around the World’ and ‘The Beguiled’," 17 Mar. 2018 In other words, the tutu offered a disavowed come-on: signaling ethereal spirituality onstage while suggesting carnal availability offstage. Rhonda Garelick, The Cut, "Carrie Bradshaw’s Tutu Paradox," 1 June 2018 Once upon a time, everything carnal or feral in me was made, by faith, moribund. Aaron Gilbreath, Longreads, "Pretty Girls Turned Hungry Ghosts," 27 Feb. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'carnal.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of carnal

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for 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

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carnal abuse



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The first known use of carnal was in the 14th century

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English Language Learners Definition of carnal

formal : of or relating to the body : sexual or sensual

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More from Merriam-Webster on carnal

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for carnal

Spanish Central: Translation of carnal

Nglish: Translation of carnal for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of carnal for Arabic Speakers

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