sen·​su·​ous | \ ˈsen(t)-sh(ə-)wəs How to pronounce sensuous (audio) \

Definition of sensuous

1a : of or relating to the senses or sensible objects
b : producing or characterized by gratification of the senses : having strong sensory appeal sensuous pleasure
2 : characterized by sense impressions or imagery aimed at the senses sensuous verse
3 : highly susceptible to influence through the senses

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Other Words from sensuous

sensuosity \ ˌsen(t)-​shə-​ˈwä-​sə-​tē How to pronounce sensuous (audio) \ noun
sensuously \ ˈsen(t)-​shə-​wəs-​lē How to pronounce sensuous (audio) \ adverb
sensuousness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for sensuous

sensuous, sensual, luxurious, voluptuous mean relating to or providing pleasure through gratification of the senses. sensuous implies gratification of the senses for the sake of aesthetic pleasure. the sensuous delights of great music sensual tends to imply the gratification of the senses or the indulgence of the physical appetites as ends in themselves. a life devoted to sensual pleasures luxurious suggests the indulgence of sensuous pleasure inducing bodily ease and languor. a luxurious hotel voluptuous implies more strongly an abandonment especially to sensual pleasure. a voluptuous feast

Did You Know?

Sensuous and sensual are close in meaning but not identical, and sensuous was actually coined by the poet John Milton so that he wouldn't have to use sensual. Sensuous usually implies pleasing of the senses by art or similar means; great music, for example, can be a source of sensuous delight. Sensual, on the other hand, usually describes gratification of the senses or physical appetites as an end in itself; thus we often think (perhaps unfairly) of wealthy Romans leading lives devoted to sensual pleasure. You can see why the Puritan Milton might have wanted another word.

Examples of sensuous in a Sentence

The sensuous sounds of soul music created a warm atmosphere. A gentle, sensuous breeze caressed our faces.
Recent Examples on the Web In a world accustomed to straight lines, cold, shiny surfaces, and grey and black hues, architect and designer Alexander Girard (1907–1993) turned to bright colors, exciting textures and sensuous shapes. CBS News, 21 May 2021 These sensuous aspects — the painting’s facture, the colors’ intensity — are as important, in their way, as Mondrian’s organization of form and space. Washington Post, 12 May 2021 Orientals were once celebrated for harnessing a kind of raw, sensuous animality. New York Times, 10 May 2021 And from just across the Irish Sea came Normal People, the Hulu adaptation of author Sally Rooney’s tale of messy, hot-and-heavy love between two young millennials in Dublin, which suddenly had audiences appreciating sensuous sound design. Alan Sepinwall, Rolling Stone, 8 May 2021 The compilation is sonically diverse, taking listeners on a journey through ethereal sounds, shimmering synths, pulsing beats, cinematic soundscapes, enchanting vocals and sensuous production. Lisa Kocay, Forbes, 7 May 2021 The set features their signature Hope, invigorating Hope Sport,and sensuous Hope Night scents that were created for the multi-faceted woman. Joseph Deacetis, Forbes, 20 Apr. 2021 All grays, browns and dusty whites, Chardin’s earthy and sensuous oil paint draws your eye to the play of delicate surface textures and soft luminosity across the canvas. Los Angeles Times, 1 Apr. 2021 With help from Puerto Rican producer Tainy and collaborations with Puerto Rican MC Myke Towers, singer Rauw Alejandro and DJ and producer DJ Snake, the EP fuses reggaeton, R&B and silky pop into a new, sensuous sound for Gomez. Natalia Barr, WSJ, 31 Mar. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'sensuous.' 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 sensuous

1640, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for sensuous

Latin sensus sense + English -ous

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Time Traveler for sensuous

Time Traveler

The first known use of sensuous was in 1640

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Statistics for sensuous

Last Updated

4 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Sensuous.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for sensuous



English Language Learners Definition of sensuous

: affecting the senses in a pleasing way : pleasant, attractive, or appealing in a way that produces or suggests feelings of physical or sexual pleasure


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