Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Relating to or affecting any of the senses or a sense organ; sensory.
  • adj. Of, relating to, given to, or providing gratification of the physical and especially the sexual appetites. See Synonyms at sensuous.
  • adj. Suggesting sexuality; voluptuous.
  • adj. Physical rather than spiritual or intellectual.
  • adj. Lacking in moral or spiritual interests; worldly.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Inducing pleasurable and/or erotic sensations.
  • adj. Of or pertaining to the physical senses; sensory.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Pertaining to, consisting in, or affecting, the sense, or bodily organs of perception; relating to, or concerning, the body, in distinction from the spirit.
  • adj. Hence, not spiritual or intellectual; carnal; fleshly; pertaining to, or consisting in, the gratification of the senses, or the indulgence of appetites; wordly.
  • adj. Devoted to the pleasures of sense and appetite; luxurious; voluptuous; lewd; libidinous.
  • adj. Pertaining or peculiar to the philosophical doctrine of sensualism.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Pertaining to, consisting in, or affecting the senses or bodily organs of perception; relating to the senses or sensation; sensible.
  • Relating to or concerning the body, in distinction from the spirit; not spiritual or intellectual; carnal; fleshly.
  • Specifically, pertaining to or consisting in the gratification of the senses, or the indulgence of appetite: as, sensual pleasures.
  • Given to or characterized by the indulgence of appetite; devoted to the pleasures of sense and appetite; especially, voluptuous; lewd.
  • In philosophy, asserting sensation to be the only source of knowledge; pertaining, relating, or peculiar to sensualism as a philosophical doctrine.
  • Synonyms Sensuous, Sensual, Carnal, Voluptuous. Sensuous has taken the not unfavorable meanings connected with the use of the senses, and sensual the unfavorable ones, implying degradation or grossness; hence we speak of sensuous perception or delight, and of sensual pleasures. Carnal, connected with the flesh, gratifying the animal nature, sometimes is the same as sensual, and sometimes, from its frequent use in the Bible, especially conveys the idea of the sinfulness of the act, character, etc. Voluptuous expresses the disposition to gratify the nicer tastes in the pleasures of sense, and to carry this gratification to softness or an elegant sensuality. A voluptuous beauty is such as to excite this disposition in him who sees it and to stimulate sexual desire.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. marked by the appetites and passions of the body
  • adj. sexually exciting or gratifying

Etymologies

From Late Latin sensualis ("endowed with feeling, sensual"), from Latin sensus ("feeling, sense"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • By adding an e to the word sensual, the manufacturer not only gives a frenchified twist to the term but also enables the “lightly lined underwire” to be trademarked.

    The Right Word in the Right Place at the Right Time

  • In this appetite resides, or from it proceeds, the love which we call sensual or brutish, which yet properly speaking ought not to be termed love but simply appetite.

    Treatise on the Love of God

  • Hindu fundamentalists got to hound a highly respected Muslim artist out of the country because he made paintings that depicted Hindu goddesses in sensual poses.

    The Volokh Conspiracy » RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty Interview with “Draw Muhammad Day” Group Administrator

  • Of pleasures, or delights, some arise from the sense of an object present; and those may be called pleasures of sense (the word sensual, as it is used by those only that condemn them, having no place till there be laws).

    Leviathan

  • The final picture is a highly composite image of events, characters and atmospheres, mediated in sensual language with a deep inherent sense of musicality.

    Nobel Prize in Literature 1993 - Presentation Speech

  • We do not aim at an increase in sensual pleasures but at a situation in which any man and all men together can develop their full strength.

    Rudolf Eucken - Nobel Lecture

  • By conduct, again, is indicated the avoidance of the extreme called sensual gratification; by concentration, the avoidance of the extreme called self-torture.

    The Way of Purity. II. The Doctrine. Translated from the Visuddhi-Magga (chap. i.).

  • The historian, by a simple stroke, has drawn a graphic picture of an Oriental despot, wallowing with his favorite in sensual enjoyments, while his tyrannical cruelties were rending the hearts and homes of thousands of his subjects.

    Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

  • Succinct but solemn warnings against vices to which kings are peculiarly tempted, as carnal pleasures and oppressive and unrighteous government are used to sustain sensual indulgence. strength -- mental and bodily resources for health and comfort. thy ways -- or course of life. to that ... kings -- literally, "to the destroying of kings," avoid destructive pleasures (compare Pr 5: 9; 7: 22, 27; Ho 4: 11).

    Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

  • The Celt is often called sensual; but it is not so much the vulgar satisfactions of sense that attract him as emotion and excitement; he is truly, as I began by saying, sentimental.

    Celtic Literature

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