adjective sen·su·ous \ ˈsen(t)-sh(ə-)wəs \
|Updated on: 22 Jul 2018

Definition of sensuous

1 a : 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


play \ˌsen(t)-shə-ˈwä-sə-tē\ noun


play \ˈsen(t)-shə-wəs-lē\ adverb



Examples of sensuous in a Sentence

  1. The sensuous sounds of soul music created a warm atmosphere.

  2. A gentle, sensuous breeze caressed our faces.

Recent Examples of sensuous from the Web

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.

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.

Origin and Etymology of sensuous

Latin sensus sense + English -ous

Synonym Discussion of 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

SENSUOUS Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of sensuous for English Language Learners

  • : 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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