[ sen-shoo-uhl ]
See synonyms for sensual on
  1. pertaining to, inclined to, or preoccupied with the gratification of the senses or appetites; carnal; fleshly.

  2. lacking in moral restraints; lewd or unchaste.

  1. arousing or exciting the senses or appetites.

  2. of or relating to the senses or physical sensation; sensory.

  3. pertaining to the philosophical doctrine of sensationalism.

Origin of sensual

First recorded in 1400–50; late Middle English, from Latin sēnsuālis, equivalent to sēnsu-, stem of sēnsus sense + -ālis -al1

synonym study For sensual

1. Sensual, sensuous, voluptuous refer to experience through the senses. Sensual refers, often unfavorably, to the enjoyments derived from the senses, especially from the gratification or indulgence of physical appetites: a sensual delight in eating; sensual excesses. Sensuous refers, favorably or literally, to what is experienced through the senses: sensuous impressions; sensuous poetry. Voluptuous implies the luxurious gratification of sensuous or sensual desires: voluptuous joys; voluptuous beauty. See also carnal.

Other words for sensual

Other words from sensual

  • sen·su·al·ly, adverb
  • hy·per·sen·su·al, adjective
  • hy·per·sen·su·al·ness, noun
  • non·sen·su·al, adjective
  • sub·sen·su·al, adjective
  • trans·sen·su·al, adjective
  • un·sen·su·al, adjective

Words that may be confused with sensual

  • sensual , sensuous (see synonym study at the current entry)

Words Nearby sensual Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use sensual in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for sensual


/ (ˈsɛnsjʊəl) /

  1. of or relating to any of the senses or sense organs; bodily

  2. strongly or unduly inclined to gratification of the senses

  1. tending to arouse the bodily appetites, esp the sexual appetite

  2. of or relating to sensualism

Origin of sensual

C15: from Late Latin sensuālis, from Latin sēnsus sense . Compare French sensuel, Italian sensuale

Derived forms of sensual

  • sensually, adverb
  • sensualness, 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