con·sen·su·al | \kən-ˈsen(t)-sh(ə-)wəl, -shəl, -shü-əl\

Definition of consensual 

1 : existing or made by mutual consent without an act of writing a consensual contract

2 : involving or based on mutual consent consensual acts

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from consensual

consensually adverb

Examples of consensual in a Sentence

She claims their relationship was consensual.

Recent Examples on the Web

Dodd said the incident was consensual, according to Mooney. Lynh Bui, Washington Post, "Former U-Md. basketball player Damonte Dodd appears in court to face rape charge," 12 July 2018 Giesen said his client has texts and emails that show the relationship was consensual, and that police investigated and declined to refer any charges to prosecutors. Bruce Vielmetti, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Lawrence University sued over campus sex assault procedures," 13 July 2018 Butler, who had claimed that the encounter with the victim was consensual, was convicted of indecent assault and battery Monday but was acquitted on a rape charge. Danny Mcdonald,, "Former Salem officer sentenced to state prison for indecent assault on man in police custody," 26 June 2018 The Law Offices of Craig M. Greaves posted on its Facebook page in defense of his client stating the encounter was consensual and called out the victim for waiting several months to report it. Jenny Dial Creech, San Antonio Express-News, "Sexual assault case leads to questions of proper punishment at Texas A&M," 13 June 2018 An internal Intel investigation discovered a consensual relationship between Krzanich and a lower-ranking employee, which violated the company’s work policy. Jonathan Vanian, Fortune, "Former Intel Executive Diane Bryant Is Leaving Google After Joining Last Fall," 3 July 2018 That report recommended public statutes should avoid legislating morality, and that the government should remove consensual homosexual liaisons from criminal law. Lorraine Boissoneault, Smithsonian, "The True Story of “A Very English Scandal” and the Trials of a Closeted Gay Politician," 27 June 2018 Only eight of the people, like Kraznich, were said to be involved in consensual relationships. Jeff Green / Bloomberg, Time, "#MeToo Has Implicated 414 High-Profile Executives and Employees in 18 Months," 25 June 2018 Only eight of the people, including Krzanich, were said to be involved in consensual relationships. Bloomberg,, "#MeToo movement has singled out more than 400 high-profile people," 25 June 2018

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

See More

First Known Use of consensual

1754, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for consensual

Latin consensus + English -al

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about consensual

Share consensual

Statistics for consensual

Last Updated

16 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for consensual

The first known use of consensual was in 1754

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for consensual



English Language Learners Definition of consensual

: agreed to by the people involved : done with the consent of the people involved


con·sen·su·al | \kən-ˈsench-(ə-)wəl, -ˈsen-chəl \

Medical Definition of consensual 

1 : existing or made by mutual consent consensual sexual behavior

2 : relating to or being the constrictive pupillary response of an eye that is covered when the other eye is exposed to light

Other Words from consensual

consensually \ \ adverb


con·sen·su·al | \kən-ˈsen-chə-wəl \

Legal Definition of consensual 

1 : existing or made by mutual consent without any further act (as a writing)

2 : involving or based on mutual consent consensual sexual intercourse

More from Merriam-Webster on consensual

See words that rhyme with consensual

Britannica English: Translation of consensual for Arabic Speakers

Comments on consensual

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


required by fashion, etiquette, or custom

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Roman Mythology Quiz

  • the-triumph-of-venus-by-alessandro-magnasco
  • Boreal comes from the name of the ancient Greek god of which wind?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!