adjective vis·cer·al \ˈvi-sə-rəl, ˈvis-rəl\

Definition of visceral

  1. 1 :  felt in or as if in the internal organs of the body :  deep a visceral conviction

  2. 2 :  not intellectual :  instinctive, unreasoning visceral drives

  3. 3 :  dealing with crude or elemental emotions :  earthy a visceral novel

  4. 4 :  of, relating to, or located on or among the viscera :  splanchnic visceral organs


play \ˈvi-sə-rə-lē, ˈvis-rə-\ adverb

Examples of visceral in a sentence

  1. In 1972 he began an address at a Chamber of Commerce luncheon, “Let me start off by saying this is not quite an honor, my being here. I haven't had too much regard for the Chamber of Commerce in my years in Boston. When the Celtics won 11 championships in 13 years, it was ignored in their own town.” Arnold Jacob Auerbach, though paradoxical and highly idiosyncratic, was foremost a direct and visceral man. —Frank Deford, Sports Illustrated, 6 Nov. 2006

  2. When you measure your waist circumference, you're indirectly measuring your visceral fat. —David Schardt, Nutrition Action, July/August 2006

  3. But there are strong taboos I haven't anticipated. The most striking is the visceral dislike of rawness. In China, the consumption of raw foods was historically viewed as a barbarian habit, and most everything is still eaten cooked. —Fuchsia Dunlop, Gourmet, August 2005

  4. One of the wonders of cooking is that the tiniest adjustment to what you are making, the addition of a single ingredient or the execution of a technique, can entirely change a dish and the visceral response you get from eating it. —Amanda Hesser, New York Times, 17 July 2002

  5. Her visceral reaction was to curse at the other driver.

Did You Know?

The "viscera" are the internal organs of the body-especially those located in the large cavity of the trunk (e.g., the heart, liver, and intestines). The word viscera comes from Latin, in which it has essentially the same meaning. Something "visceral" has to do with the viscera. In a more figurative sense, something "visceral" is felt "deep down." Even in the early years of its use, "visceral" often referred to things emotional rather than physiological. For example, in 1640, an English bishop named Edward Reynolds wrote, "Love is of all other the inmost and most visceral affection." This figurative use is the most common use of "visceral," but the word continues to be used in medical contexts as well.


First Known Use of visceral


VISCERAL Defined for English Language Learners


adjective vis·cer·al \ˈvi-sə-rəl, ˈvis-rəl\

Definition of visceral for English Language Learners

  • : coming from strong emotions and not from logic or reason

  • medical : of or relating to the viscera

Medical Dictionary


adjective vis·cer·al \ˈvis-ə-rəl\

Medical Definition of visceral

  1. :  of, relating to, or located on or among the viscera visceral organs—compare parietal 1


\-rə-lē\play adverb

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a brief usually trivial fact

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