visceral

adjective
vis·​cer·​al | \ ˈvi-sə-rəl How to pronounce visceral (audio) , ˈvis-rəl\

Definition of visceral

1 : felt in or as if in the internal organs of the body : deep a visceral conviction
2 : not intellectual : instinctive, unreasoning visceral drives
3 : dealing with crude or elemental emotions : earthy a visceral novel
4 : of, relating to, or located on or among the viscera : splanchnic visceral organs

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Other Words from visceral

viscerally \ ˈvi-​sə-​rə-​lē How to pronounce viscerally (audio) , ˈvis-​rə-​ \ adverb

The Tie Between Visceral and Biology

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.

Examples of visceral in a Sentence

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 When you measure your waist circumference, you're indirectly measuring your visceral fat. — David Schardt, Nutrition Action, July/August 2006 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 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 Her visceral reaction was to curse at the other driver.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Aboriginal people felt each removal as a visceral affront. David Maurice Smith, Smithsonian, "A 42,000-Year-Old Man Finally Goes Home," 23 Aug. 2019 Excitement, goosebumps, the peak moments when our heartbeat rises during the visceral creative process that requires dedication and teamwork. Anne Quito, Quartz at Work, "A Finnish company is giving potential recruits perfume made from employees’ sweat," 23 Aug. 2019 There’s an instant kick of visceral excitement, a Pavlovian jolt, in being enveloped in a bone-familiar pop fable. Troy Patterson, The New Yorker, "The VOID Is Where Virtual Reality Enters the Dying Meatspace of the Mall," 23 Aug. 2019 Unfortunately, most of the anguish, drama and visceral excitement that lead to this catharsis were lacking in Kalmar’s surprisingly mundane, often anemic reading. Howard Reich, chicagotribune.com, "Classical reviews: Perlman’s triumph at Ravinia; Grant Park’s disappointing finale," 18 Aug. 2019 With Winslow, that was a violent, visceral response to someone touching her body. Emma Dibdin, Harper's BAZAAR, "The Handmaid's Tale Showrunner Breaks Down "Ruthless'" Season 3 Finale," 14 Aug. 2019 The image, taken by journalist Julia Le Duc and showing Óscar Alberto Martínez Ramírez and his daughter Valeria deceased and face down on a muddy riverbank, has sparked visceral responses on social media. Mike James, USA TODAY, "Graphic photo of drowned father and daughter stirs volatile immigration debate," 25 June 2019 Gao’s ultimate goal is to evoke a visceral response to her wines and ignite a lasting emotional connection. Vogue, "Emma Gao’s Mission to Transform Global Perceptions of Winemaking in Her Native China," 3 Dec. 2018 For example, visceral fat (which collects around the midsection) is strongly associated with heart problems and diabetes. Jon Cohen, Science | AAAS, "Popular anti-HIV drugs result in ‘10 years of weight gain in 2 years’ for some women," 7 Aug. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'visceral.' 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 visceral

1575, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for visceral

Last Updated

27 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for visceral

The first known use of visceral was in 1575

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More Definitions for visceral

visceral

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of visceral

literary : coming from strong emotions and not from logic or reason
medical : of or relating to the viscera

visceral

adjective
vis·​cer·​al | \ ˈvis-ə-rəl How to pronounce visceral (audio) \

Medical Definition of visceral

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

Other Words from visceral

viscerally \ -​rə-​lē How to pronounce viscerally (audio) \ adverb

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More from Merriam-Webster on visceral

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for visceral

Spanish Central: Translation of visceral

Nglish: Translation of visceral for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of visceral for Arabic Speakers

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