cor·​po·​re·​al kȯr-ˈpȯr-ē-əl How to pronounce corporeal (audio)
: having, consisting of, or relating to a physical material body: such as
: not spiritual
… some few traces of a diviner nature which look out through his corporeal baseness … Robert Browning
: not immaterial or intangible : substantial
corporeal property
archaic : corporal
corporeally adverb
corporealness noun

Did you know?

In various religions, including Christianity, corporeal existence is often called the opposite of spiritual existence, and corporeal existence, unlike spiritual existence, is often said to be contaminated with evil. The word is also often used by philosophers, especially when considering the nature of reality. For lawyers, corporeal describes physical property such as houses or cars, as opposed to something valuable but nonphysical like a good reputation.

Choose the Right Synonym for corporeal

material, physical, corporeal, phenomenal, sensible, objective mean of or belonging to actuality.

material implies formation out of tangible matter; used in contrast with spiritual or ideal it may connote the mundane, crass, or grasping.

material values

physical applies to what is perceived directly by the senses and may contrast with mental, spiritual, or imaginary.

the physical benefits of exercise

corporeal implies having the tangible qualities of a body such as shape, size, or resistance to force.

artists have portrayed angels as corporeal beings

phenomenal applies to what is known or perceived through the senses rather than by intuition or rational deduction.

scientists concerned with the phenomenal world

sensible stresses the capability of readily or forcibly impressing the senses.

the earth's rotation is not sensible to us

objective may stress material or independent existence apart from a subject perceiving it.

no objective evidence of damage

Example Sentences

the corporeal nature of matter corporeal cravings such as hunger and thirst
Recent Examples on the Web Cicognani’s work operates on a similar horseshoe of affect where religious and corporeal ecstasy get weirdly close. Christina Catherine Martinez, Los Angeles Times, 5 Oct. 2022 The danger of corporeal revolt mangles Valeria’s sense of reality. Lovia Gyarkye, The Hollywood Reporter, 4 Aug. 2022 While just as mesmerizing with its celestial vocals and transcendent synth builds, the simple addition of driving drums adds depth and muscle for a more corporeal and intense dance floor experience. Katie Bain, Billboard, 1 July 2022 According to the Mayo Clinic, the average adult can safely consume up to 400 milligrams of caffeine per day before vibrating to a plane of non-corporeal existence. Max Falkowitz, Bon Appétit, 5 May 2022 The show imagines a future 15 years from now, in which people can live beyond their corporeal bodies by uploading their consciousness into a visual afterworld. Andrew R. Chow, Time, 31 Mar. 2022 Somehow, Fauci has become the Greatest Living Human Being, a corporeal blend of St Francis, Mother Teresa and the Buddha. Bob Guccione Jr, SPIN, 17 Jan. 2022 In a crowded field of novel-manifestos about the indignity of parenting, Nightbitch is primal and corporeal, a labor scream of a book. Hillary Kelly, Vulture, 15 Dec. 2021 Will that category one day include robots, cyborgs, artificial intelligences, even non-corporeal forms of life? Jim Higgins, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 2 Dec. 2021 See More

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

Word History


Middle English corporealle, from Latin corporeus "having a body, physical" (from corpor-, corpus "body" + -eus -eous) + -alle -al entry 1

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of corporeal was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near corporeal

Cite this Entry

“Corporeal.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition



cor·​po·​re·​al kȯr-ˈpōr-ē-əl How to pronounce corporeal (audio)
: having, consisting of, or relating to a physical material body
corporeally adverb

Medical Definition



cor·​po·​re·​al kȯr-ˈpōr-ē-əl, -ˈpȯr- How to pronounce corporeal (audio)
: having, consisting of, or relating to a physical material body

Legal Definition



cor·​po·​re·​al kȯr-ˈpōr-ē-əl How to pronounce corporeal (audio)
: having, consisting of, or relating to a physical material body compare incorporeal
corporeally adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on corporeal

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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

Words Named After People

  • name tags
  • Namesake of the leotard, Jules Léotard had what profession?
True or False

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

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.