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 dreamy, nostalgic, prismatic sentences colored with sensuous detail, the author conjures up a way of life soon to become extinct, erased by the Bolsheviks’ takeover. Phillip Lopate, WSJ, "Five Best: Essay Collections," 11 Dec. 2020 The film is sensuous, funny, and obsessed with the ways in which food can unite a family, even when its members are emotionally at odds. David Sims, The Atlantic, "20 of the Best Films About Family for the Holidays," 21 Nov. 2020 Teyana Taylor, The Album Glistening with sensuous self-assurance, The Album feels like the best distillation so far of Teyana Taylor's comforting, confident R&B. Billboard Staff, Billboard, "The 50 Best Albums of 2020: Staff Picks," 7 Dec. 2020 After spending time in Paris, Tanner began deploying the sensuous brushwork and ethereal colors of French Impressionism to explore themes of religious devotion as well as domestic tension, particularly around issues of race., "Black artist left for more egalitarian France, and religious paintings show influence of Paris," 24 Nov. 2020 Palpable yet dreamlike, sensuous yet sometimes disembodied, its language remains clear and lucid, its reasoning intricate, challenging and seductive. Washington Post, "Reading Nicole Krauss’s ‘To Be a Man’ feels like talking all night with a brilliant friend," 5 Nov. 2020 At the time, a genre of sensuous, lo-fi synth music called chillwave was gaining prominence. Carrie Battan, The New Yorker, "The Disappearance and Cryptic Return of Salem," 2 Nov. 2020 Intense of course, but also floral and sensuous, his chocolates served as the perfect fuel for the three floors of the Sigal Museum across the street. Sylvie Bigar, Washington Post, "In the hills of western Pennsylvania, a skeptical New Yorker gives glamping a try," 8 Oct. 2020 Yet the Louvre, like a Darwinian creature, attains an imposing stature and sensuous character through this combination of accident and need. Edward Rothstein, WSJ, "The Louvre: Palace as Palimpsest," 25 Sep. 2020

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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Last Updated

24 Dec 2020

Cite this Entry

“Sensuous.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for sensuous


How to pronounce sensuous (audio)

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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