Definition of carnal in US English:



  • Relating to physical, especially sexual, needs and activities.

    ‘carnal desire’
    • ‘Shopping in our humble opinions is a divine pleasure in its own right and its reputation can only be sullied by likening it to more carnal activity.’
    • ‘In these works, the wolf-man emerges as a kind of romantic anti-hero, torn between social mores and carnal desire.’
    • ‘And yet to me to love in a carnal sense was at any rate to enjoy a triumph over countless rivals.’
    • ‘They must curb their carnal cravings and submit to the will of the Lord.’
    • ‘Here you will find a room of elegantly erotic mosaics, and sentimentally carnal ceramics.’
    • ‘Sensuality is only carnal when it is used indiscriminately, for self-defeating gratification.’
    • ‘For him, though, there's no competition between carnal and spiritual desires.’
    • ‘The videos apparently distract the viewer's attention from the song to the meaningless portrayal of carnal desires.’
    • ‘I wish they would spend time making the characters as real as their carnal activities.’
    • ‘The pair were so engrossed in their carnal activities that they did not even notice Loren.’
    • ‘It is carnal need, which, by coincidence, is an important part of the expression of love.’
    • ‘The King portrayed a female vagrant, complete with a garbage bag dress, who goes after a man in hope of satisfying her carnal desires.’
    • ‘Satin is sensual and carnal (think satin sheets), but also associated with ritual.’
    • ‘This scene gives us our first sighting of Lord Summerisle as well as introducing the more carnal aspects of island life.’
    • ‘He took up with a girl who, as well as carnal favours, supplied him with rationed beer and contraband Craven As.’
    • ‘The Wooden Frock is from the Cinderella shelf of the library, the slipper here replaced by the more carnal symbol of a wedding ring.’
    • ‘When Sam's not being offered carnal delights, he is being offered other vices.’
    • ‘The majority of the men who frequent dance-halls go there with nothing but carnal thoughts in their minds.’
    • ‘Islam requires that both women and men adopt modest dress that does not inflame carnal desire.’
    • ‘But in this struggle it is not the carnal desires that always triumph as some people imagine.’
    sexual, sensual, erotic, lustful, lascivious, libidinous, lecherous, licentious, lewd, prurient, salacious, coarse, gross, lubricious, venereal
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Late Middle English: from Christian Latin carnalis, from caro, carn- ‘flesh’.