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

In the Frick’s room, the sound of that same string quartet becomes even more visceral and engulfing, and individual voices come through with palpable clarity. New York Times, "As the Frick Expands, New York City Music Suffers," 29 June 2018 According to Associated Press reporter Andrew Dalton, Spike Lee also had a visceral reaction to the movie's win. Emma Dibdin, Harper's BAZAAR, "Green Book Won Best Picture and Twitter Is Not Happy," 25 Feb. 2019 The visceral debate in the chamber has spilled outside the House of Commons, where flag-waving pro-EU protesters were calling on Monday for Brexit to be canceled. Max Colchester, WSJ, "Brexit Turns U.K. Parliament on Its Head," 14 Jan. 2019 For this show, a mirrored floor and graffitied ceiling thrilled and disoriented, and the pulsing impulses of each piece as well as the distance traveled from the first to the last gave me both a visceral and intellectual jolt. Jordan Roth, Vogue, "Jordan Roth: A Man’s View on the Haute Couture," 28 Jan. 2019 While the visceral showdown at the U.S.-Mexico border emphasized Latin American immigration, separation policies and, more broadly, quickly eroding immigration protections have a long reach. Shamira Ibrahim, Daily Intelligencer, "Patricia Okoumou and the Threat to Black Immigrants," 13 July 2018 There does seem to be a special, visceral repulsion among some voters toward the president. Dylan Scott, Vox, "The suburbs abandoned Republicans in 2018, and they might not be coming back.," 26 Dec. 2018 In a study at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, people who ate more soluble fiber accumulated less visceral fat. Karyn Repinski, Woman's Day, "New Research Links Belly Fat to an Increased Risk of Heart Attacks in Women," 23 Jan. 2019 And it is laced with elemental metaphors — fire, water, cold, heat — that make its story of desire, mystery, and destruction feel all the more visceral. Alissa Wilkinson, Vox, "The 21 best movies of 2018," 14 Dec. 2018

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

9 Apr 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

Spanish Central: Translation of visceral

Nglish: Translation of visceral for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of visceral for Arabic Speakers

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