[ vis-er-uh l ]
/ ˈvɪs ər əl /


of or relating to the viscera.
affecting the viscera.
of the nature of or resembling viscera.
characterized by or proceeding from instinct rather than intellect: a visceral reaction.
characterized by or dealing with coarse or base emotions; earthy; crude: a visceral literary style.

Nearby words

  1. visc.,
  2. viscacha,
  3. viscaria,
  4. viscera,
  5. viscerad,
  6. visceral anesthesia,
  7. visceral arch,
  8. visceral cleft,
  9. visceral disease virus,
  10. visceral ganglion

Origin of visceral

1565–75; < Medieval Latin viscerālis, equivalent to viscer- (see viscera) + -ālis -al1

Related formsvis·cer·al·ly, adverbnon·vis·cer·al, adjectiveun·vis·cer·al, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for visceral

British Dictionary definitions for visceral


/ (ˈvɪsərəl) /


of, relating to, or affecting the viscera
characterized by intuition or instinct rather than intellect
Derived Formsviscerally, adverb

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 visceral



1570s, "affecting inward feelings," from Middle French viscéral, from Medieval Latin visceralis "internal," from Latin viscera, plural of viscus "internal organ," of unknown origin. The bowels were regarded as the seat of emotion. The figurative sense vanished after 1640 and the literal sense is first recorded in 1794. The figurative sense was revived 1940s in arts criticism.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for visceral


[ vĭsər-əl ]


Relating to, situated in, or affecting the viscera.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Science definitions for visceral


[ vĭsər-ə ]

The soft internal organs of the body, especially those contained within the abdominal and thoracic cavities.
Related formsvisceral adjective

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.