a. Relating to or involving gratification of the senses: sensuous enjoyment; sensuous music.
b. Sexually attractive.
2. Relating to or affecting the senses; sensory: direct, sensuous experience of the world.
sen′su·osi·ty (-ŏsĭ-tē), sensu·ous·ness (-əs-nĭs) n.
Synonyms: sensuous, sensual, luxurious, voluptuous
These adjectives mean of, given to, or furnishing satisfaction of the senses. Sensuous usually applies to the senses involved in aesthetic enjoyment, as of art or music: "The sensuous joy from all things fair / His strenuous bent of soul repressed" (John Greenleaf Whittier).
Sensual more often applies to the physical senses or appetites, particularly those associated with sexual pleasure: "Of music Dr. Johnson used to say that it was the only sensual pleasure without vice" (William Seward).
Luxurious suggests a surrender to physical comfort leading to a delightful feeling of well-being: They stayed in a luxurious suite with a crystal chandelier and thick oriental rugs. Voluptuous principally implies abandoning oneself to pleasures, especially sensual pleasures: "Lucullus ... returned to Rome to lounge away the remainder of his days in voluptuous magnificence" (J.A. Froude).
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2017 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
The American Heritage Dictionary Blog
Check out our blog, updated regularly, for new words and revised definitions, interesting images from the 5th edition, discussions of usage, and more.
American Heritage Dictionary Products
The American Heritage Dictionary, 5th Edition
The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms
The American Heritage Roget's Thesaurus
Curious George's Dictionary
The American Heritage Children's Dictionary
The American Heritage Dictionary of Indo-European Roots
The American Heritage Student Grammar Dictionary
The American Heritage Desk Dictionary + Thesaurus
The American Heritage Science Dictionary
The American Heritage Dictionary of Business Terms
The American Heritage Student Dictionary
The American Heritage Essential Student Thesaurus