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

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 America’s first lady of food, Julia Child, receives an affectionate and respectful but also quietly sensuous tribute. Thr Staff, The Hollywood Reporter, 7 Jan. 2022 The compilation takes listeners on a journey through ethereal sounds, shimmering synths, pulsing beats, cinematic soundscapes, enchanting vocals and sensuous production. Lisa Kocay, Forbes, 28 Dec. 2021 It is topped with a mythological beast devouring an elephant, but in its lower portion, all is elegant curve and sensuous polish as the ivory, notched with patterned ornamentation, fluidly folds over itself, embracing a hollow space. Edward Rothstein, WSJ, 28 Dec. 2021 Onstage, Everett drifts from meandering, half-melancholy tales about her dysfunctional childhood (her mother is a recovering alcoholic, and her father was largely absent) into sensuous power ballads. Michael Schulman, The New Yorker, 27 Dec. 2021 Her paintings’ sensuous surfaces rise above whatever the image is. Jerry Saltz, Vulture, 17 Dec. 2021 The high leg slit and deep v-cut neckline brought an undeniable sensuous energy, but the Bulgari jewels and Christian Louboutin heels ensured that Zendaya was the most elegant subject on the red carpet. Greg Emmanuel, Essence, 14 Dec. 2021 Jessica van Brakle and Zac Willis employ expanding foam and custom auto paint to fabricate a sensuous blob of a sculpture from which leaf-life paper prints sprout. Washington Post, 19 Nov. 2021 The commitment to the sensuous world seems to be a way of writing female passion. Lara Feigel, The New Republic, 26 Nov. 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

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The first known use of sensuous was in 1640

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Dictionary Entries Near sensuous

sensum theory


sensus communis

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Last Updated

11 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Sensuous.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Jan. 2022.

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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

More from Merriam-Webster on sensuous

Nglish: Translation of sensuous for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of sensuous for Arabic Speakers


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