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 sensuosity (audio) \ noun
sensuously \ ˈsen(t)-​shə-​wəs-​lē How to pronounce sensuously (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

His beguiling, feather-light fantasy follows Michelangelo’s reluctant immersion into the wonders of the city, a far more sensuous place than the ascetic artist has known in Italy. Sam Sacks, WSJ, "Fiction: A Critical Mass of Absurdist Misapprehensions," 30 Nov. 2018 The Dora Milaje honors the female form by having the harness that wraps around the female body in a very sensuous way. Candice Frederick, Harper's BAZAAR, "Black Panther's Ruth E. Carter on Designing for the Revolution," 18 Feb. 2019 Here and there sand dunes intruded, softly sensuous in a wilderness of rock. Stanley Stewart, Condé Nast Traveler, "Going Off-Grid in Namibia," 21 Dec. 2018 Though perhaps the Olds poem, if frankly sensuous, best reflected the spirit of the day. Thessaly La Force, Vogue, "The Bride Wore Simone Rocha for Her New York City Secret-Garden Wedding," 7 Nov. 2018 With your planetary ruler now direct, your libido and romantic forcefield can breathe a sigh of sensuous relief. Bess Matassa, Teen Vogue, "Monthly Lovescopes September 2018," 1 Sep. 2018 This intricate play of rhymes and assonances is reinforced and challenged by the contrasting textures that are so convincingly evoked by Chardin’s dry but sensuous brush marks. Karen Wilkin, WSJ, "A Scene Beyond Time," 24 Aug. 2018 Toxic In another clever reinterpretation, Brit came out in an apple-red bodysuit with a glowing green jungle background, a sensuous Eve tempting her audience. Cara Kelly, USA TODAY, "Britney Spears is back on tour and you better believe she's here to work," 13 July 2018 Set in a wide array of times and places, Schwob’s stories have the mythic quality of parables, but rendered in sensuous, often grotesque detail. Martin Riker, WSJ, "Books Born of Books," 22 June 2018

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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Last Updated

29 Apr 2019

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Time Traveler for sensuous

The first known use of sensuous was in 1640

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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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More from Merriam-Webster on sensuous

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for sensuous

Spanish Central: Translation of sensuous

Nglish: Translation of sensuous for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of sensuous for Arabic Speakers

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