adjective, flesh·li·er, flesh·li·est.

of or relating to the flesh or body; bodily, corporeal, or physical.
carnal; sensual: fleshly pleasures.
worldly, rather than spiritual.
having a sensuous quality: the fleshly poetry of the 17th century.
Obsolete. having much flesh; fleshy.

Origin of fleshly

before 900; Middle English; Old English flǣsclic. See flesh, -ly
Related formsflesh·li·ness, noun
Can be confusedfleshly fleshy

Synonym study

2. See carnal.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for fleshly

Historical Examples of fleshly

  • For the moment, she forgot his hopeless durance in fleshly walls.

    Meadow Grass

    Alice Brown

  • Colonel Bishop halted to consider her, shading his eyes with his fleshly hand.

    Captain Blood

    Rafael Sabatini

  • If the yearning of a fleshly love is gone, you are without love, without obligation.


    George Eliot

  • How often the fleshly mind has usurped His place in Thy worship!

    Holy in Christ

    Andrew Murray

  • In a moment the fleshly image receded, it sank back into the darkness.

British Dictionary definitions for fleshly


adjective -lier or -liest

relating to the body, esp its sensual nature; carnalfleshly desire
worldly as opposed to spiritual
fleshy; fat
Derived Formsfleshliness, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for fleshly

Old English flæsclic; see flesh (n.) + -ly (1).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper