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 visceral (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 There's something visceral about eating with your hands, and in the case of people who eat sushi, the practice may also suggest a casual and carefree persona. Mark Robinson, CNN, 16 Sep. 2021 The unfolding crisis is most visceral in India's overwhelmed graveyards and crematoriums, and in heartbreaking images of gasping patients dying on their way to hospitals due to lack of oxygen. Arkansas Online, 25 Apr. 2021 While the fear may not be as visceral as that faced by our prehistoric ancestors, the impact is the same. Kwame Christian, Forbes, 21 Sep. 2021 The textures in the film were so visceral: the surfaces of the house, the clothes, and especially the food. Carole Horst, Variety, 10 Sep. 2021 The memory of the moment is visceral, in the same way that John F. Kennedy’s death was 38 years earlier. Laura Johnston, cleveland, 11 Aug. 2021 The Sabre is so fast, so visceral, that there are moments when your right foot will question whether full throttle is what your brain really wants. Travis Okulski, Car and Driver, 20 July 2021 People with ties to Texas history feel a strong visceral connection when passing through the church’s wooden double-entry doors. Scott Huddleston, San Antonio Express-News, 31 May 2021 Hearing the dancers speaking over video of themselves dancing provides a visceral connection between their words and the intense emotions their experience creates. San Diego Union-Tribune, 3 May 2021

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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Time Traveler for visceral

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The first known use of visceral was in 1575

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Dictionary Entries Near visceral

viscera

visceral

visceral bar

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Last Updated

10 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Visceral.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/visceral. Accessed 19 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for visceral

visceral

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of visceral

: coming from strong emotions and not from logic or reason
: 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 visceral (audio) \ adverb

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