Synonyms & Antonyms of carnal

1 having to do with life on earth especially as opposed to that in heaven
  • the preacher warned that those who were interested only in carnal pursuits would not see the kingdom of heaven

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2 of or relating to the human body
  • a missionary who tends to the carnal needs of the people as well as to their spiritual concerns

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Antonyms for carnal

3 pleasing to the physical senses
  • carnal attractions of that gambling mecca in the desert

Synonyms for carnal

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Frequently Asked Questions About carnal

How is the word carnal different from other adjectives like it?

Some common synonyms of carnal are animal, fleshly, and sensual. While all these words mean "having a relation to the body," carnal may mean only this but more often connotes derogatorily an action or manifestation of a person's lower nature.

a slave to carnal desires

When can animal be used instead of carnal?

While the synonyms animal and carnal are close in meaning, animal stresses the physical as distinguished from the rational nature of a person.

led a mindless animal existence

How do fleshly and carnal relate to one another?

Fleshly is less derogatory than carnal.

a saint who had experienced fleshly temptations

When is it sensible to use sensual instead of carnal?

While in some cases nearly identical to carnal, sensual may apply to any gratification of a bodily desire or pleasure but commonly implies sexual appetite with absence of the spiritual or intellectual.

fleshpots providing sensual delights

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Time Traveler for carnal

Time Traveler

The first known use of carnal was in the 14th century

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Last Updated

28 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Carnal.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Jul. 2020.

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More from Merriam-Webster on carnal

Dictionary: Definition of carnal

Spanish Central: Translation of carnal

Nglish: Translation of carnal for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of carnal for Arabic Speakers

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