sen·​su·​al | \ ˈsen(t)-sh(ə-)wəl How to pronounce sensual (audio) , -shəl \

Definition of sensual

1 : relating to or consisting in the gratification of the senses or the indulgence of appetite : fleshly
3a : devoted to or preoccupied with the senses or appetites
c : deficient in moral, spiritual, or intellectual interests : worldly especially : irreligious

Other Words from sensual

sensuality \ ˌsen(t)-​shə-​ˈwa-​lə-​tē How to pronounce sensual (audio) \ noun
sensually \ ˈsen(t)-​sh(ə-​)wə-​lē How to pronounce sensual (audio) , ˈsen-​shə-​lē \ adverb

Choose the Right Synonym for sensual

carnal, fleshly, sensual, animal 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. gave in to carnal desires fleshly is less derogatory than carnal. a saint who had experienced fleshly temptations 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 animal stresses the physical as distinguished from the rational nature of a person. led a mindless animal existence

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

Examples of sensual in a Sentence

A sharp observer with a pleasing eye for sensual detail, Jaffrey weaves a richly textured story in which she effortlessly mingles quotidian dramas with historic events including the partition of India. — Michelle Green, People, 6 Nov. 2006 And Rousseau, in his Confessions, wrote of the sensual pleasure he found in simple meals of peasant cheeses and breads. — Andrea Lee, Gourmet, May 2004 Certain fragrances apparently heighten sensual experiences. the sensual feel of a velvet shirt against the skin
Recent Examples on the Web Her bulbous sandals, produced from a single piece of leather, and cute stackable jewelry, all bear the mark of her hand: clever, quirky, and sensual in olive greens and bright tangerine. Steff Yotka, Vogue, 22 July 2022 The visual, sensual conflict of ideologies is heady — not in terms of propagandistic, Marxist argument, but in the poetic conflict of words, thoughts, emotions. Armond White, National Review, 26 Aug. 2022 Yep, twerking, sensual movement, and pole culture have gone mainstream. Kourtney Pope,, 25 Aug. 2022 The way Alicent helped Rhaenyra get dressed in sensual, dim lighting! Jordyn Taylor, Men's Health, 22 Aug. 2022 Now, over the years, garter toss dances have become a bit more sensual, with men using their teeth and putting on elaborate routines to go under the bride’s dress and retrieve the garter from her thigh. Victoria Uwumarogie, Essence, 22 Aug. 2022 His delivery of the melodies is as smooth as velvet and as sensual as a whisper on the back of your neck. Tony Le Calvez, San Diego Union-Tribune, 21 Aug. 2022 All manner of outburst act as conduits to our animal nature, that vibrant sensual essence unconstrained by social code and psychological defense. Melissa Holbrook Pierson, Washington Post, 18 Aug. 2022 In the pictures, as well as in the chapter on the biggest party of all, New Year’s Eve 2000, excerpted below, a sense of the sensual appeal of the dancefloor shines through. Steve Adelman, Rolling Stone, 18 Aug. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'sensual.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of sensual

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for sensual

Middle English, from Late Latin sensualis, from Latin sensus sense

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The first known use of sensual was in the 15th century

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Last Updated

16 Sep 2022

Cite this Entry

“Sensual.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Sep. 2022.

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More Definitions for sensual


sen·​su·​al | \ ˈsen-shə-wəl How to pronounce sensual (audio) \

Kids Definition of sensual

: relating to the pleasing of the senses


sen·​su·​al | \ ˈsench-(ə-)wəl, ˈsen-shəl How to pronounce sensual (audio) \

Medical Definition of sensual

2 : relating to or consisting in the gratification of the senses or the indulgence of appetite
3 : devoted to or preoccupied with the senses or appetites

More from Merriam-Webster on sensual

Nglish: Translation of sensual for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of sensual for Arabic Speakers

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