Sensual means physically pleasing. It often is used in a sexual context, but is not exclusively sexual in meaning.

Sensual has to do with the five senses, but it comes with a hint of lewdness, a suggestion of sex. Although you could have a sensual meal or experience that doesn’t involve romance, if you want a word that refers to the five senses without any unsavory connotations, use its cousin sensuous.

Definitions of sensual
  1. adjective
    marked by the appetites and passions of the body
    “a sensual delight in eating”
    “music is the only sensual pleasure without vice”
    synonyms: animal, carnal, fleshly
    involving the body as distinguished from the mind or spirit
  2. adjective
    sexually exciting or gratifying
    sensual excesses”
    synonyms: sultry
    extended meanings; especially of psychological heat; marked by intensity or vehemence especially of passion or enthusiasm
Commonly confused words

sensual / sensuous

The words sensual and sensuous are often used interchangeably, but careful writers would do well to think before using one or the other.

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Word Family

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