• synonyms


[sen-shoo-uh s]
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  1. perceived by or affecting the senses: the sensuous qualities of music.
  2. readily affected through the senses: a sensuous temperament.
  3. of or relating to sensible objects or to the senses.
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Origin of sensuous

1630–40; < Latin sēnsu(s) sense + -ous
Related formssen·su·ous·ly, adverbsen·su·ous·ness, sen·su·os·i·ty [sen-shoo-os-i-tee] /ˌsɛn ʃuˈɒs ɪ ti/, nounan·ti·sen·su·ous, adjectivean·ti·sen·su·ous·ly, adverban·ti·sen·su·ous·ness, nounhy·per·sen·su·ous, adjectivehy·per·sen·su·ous·ly, adverbhy·per·sen·su·ous·ness, nounnon·sen·su·ous, adjectivenon·sen·su·ous·ly, adverbnon·sen·su·ous·ness, nounsub·sen·su·ous, adjectivesub·sen·su·ous·ly, adverbsub·sen·su·ous·ness, nounsu·per·sen·su·ous, adjectivesu·per·sen·su·ous·ly, adverbsu·per·sen·su·ous·ness, nounun·sen·su·ous, adjectiveun·sen·su·ous·ly, adverbun·sen·su·ous·ness, noun
Can be confusedsensual sensuous (see synonym study at sensual)


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1. See sensual. 2. feeling, sensible. 3. sentient.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for sensuous


  1. aesthetically pleasing to the senses
  2. appreciative of or moved by qualities perceived by the senses
  3. of, relating to, or derived from the senses
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Derived Formssensuously, adverbsensuousness, noun

Word Origin

C17: apparently coined by Milton to avoid the unwanted overtones of sensual; not in common use until C19: from Latin sēnsus sense + -ous
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 sensuous


1640s, "pertaining to the senses" apparently coined by Milton to recover the original meaning of sensual and avoid the lascivious connotation that the older word had acquired, but by 1870 sensuous, too, had begun down the same path and come to mean "alive to the pleasures of the senses." Rare before Coleridge popularized it "To express in one word all that appertains to the perception, considered as passive and merely recipient ...." (1814). From Latin sensus (see sense (n.)) + -ous. Related: Sensuously; sensuousness.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper