flesh·​ly ˈflesh-lē How to pronounce fleshly (audio)
: of, relating to, or characterized by indulgence of bodily appetites
especially : lascivious
fleshly desires
: not spiritual : worldly
: having a sensuous quality
fleshly art
Choose the Right Synonym for fleshly

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.

gave in 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 fleshly in a Sentence

a time of year when people shouldn't focus on fleshly concerns, but instead on spiritual matters the fleshly eye sees the only finished painting, but the mind's eye sees the genius behind its creation
Recent Examples on the Web When another girl, Addie (Mia Pak), tries to explain Jesus’ status as the Son of God—fully fleshly and fully divine—as the meeting of horizontal and vertical lines at the overlapping center of a Venn diagram, Beatrice fisks the idea earnestly. Vinson Cunningham, The New Yorker, 12 Dec. 2022 The grateful nutcracker becomes a living prince and leads Clara through a spinning snowstorm of ballerinas to a sugary kingdom where flamenco-style dancers spin with twisting torsos and entwining arms as fleshly embodiments of Spanish chocolate. Sarah L. Kaufman, Washington Post, 25 Nov. 2022 There is a leveling effect to his approach, one that allows About Endlessness to find grandeur in the smallest of everyday moments while also highlighting the fallible, fleshly absurdity of even history’s most outsize figures. Alison Willmore, Vulture, 30 Apr. 2021 They were tempted by curiosity and hunger, by fleshly desires. Karla Cornejo Villavicencio, The New Yorker, 18 Jan. 2021 When all seems lost, a magical, fleshly reappearance defies death’s despair. Longreads, 14 Apr. 2020 Our fleshly forms evolved to work within the tug of gravity. National Geographic, 12 June 2019 Beasley’s lush and sculptures are anchored in fleshly experience. Cate McQuaid, BostonGlobe.com, 23 May 2018 A bovine nirvana, in other words, where the fleshly mortification of Theravada Buddhism does not apply. Joseph Hincks / Hong Kong, Time, 30 Aug. 2017 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'fleshly.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of fleshly was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near fleshly

Cite this Entry

“Fleshly.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fleshly. Accessed 8 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


flesh·​ly ˈflesh-lē How to pronounce fleshly (audio)

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