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

The 74-year-old Manassas man was arrested June 25 and charged with carnal knowledge. Lisa M. Bolton, Washington Post, "Prince William crime report," 3 July 2019 Safety hasn’t typically meant freedom from carnal pursuit; safety has meant the possibility of it. Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, "Cruising in the Age of Consent," 19 June 2019 In the nearly three-hour Our Time, Reygadas has gone completely worldly — still aestheticizing nature and behavior, yet always bypassing the spiritual for the carnal. Armond White, National Review, "Franco Zeffirelli: Unlikely Conservative Hero," 20 June 2019 These bizarre animals are chaste survivors in a carnal world. Quanta Magazine, "Ancient Survivors Could Redefine Sex," 19 Nov. 2014 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

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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Dictionary Entries near carnal





carnal abuse



Statistics for carnal

Last Updated

8 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for carnal

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

Comments on carnal

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an act or instance of editing or removing

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