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Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Stuart's Daily Word Spot: Sensual or sensuous?

Taste, Sense of Taste or Allegory of TasteImage via Wikipedia
Sensual or sensuous? 
Sensual: adjective - concerning the senses or sensation, sensory; depending only on the senses and not the spirit or intellect; appealing to or involving appetites or desires; carnal, fleshly, lewd, depraved; immersed in material or temporal matters rather than intellectual and spiritual interests; worldly; excessively devoted to physical pleasure or gratification of the senses; self-indulgent sexually, or with food and drink.

Sensuous: adjective - concerning the senses or sensation; derived from or affecting the senses; affecting the senses aesthetically rather than sensually; readily affected by the senses, keenly responsive to the pleasures of sensation.

Traditionally, the distinction between 'sensuous' and 'sensual' makes 'sensuous' a more neutral term with the meaning of 'concerning the senses rather than the intellect', while 'sensual' relates to gratification of the senses, especially those of a sexual nature.

Although the words, like so many of these difficult pairings, are more or less interchangeable, general usage suggests that 'sensual' be used for sexual or erotic matters, and 'sensuous' be employed more neutrally for those things that provide pleasurable sensations of a more general sort.

'Eileen, a sensual creature, who loved the feel of other skin on her own, was always seeking a mate with whom she could experience all the wonders of sex.'

'George blamed the size of his belly and the girth of his waist entirely on the sensuous pleasures of eating foods that filled his palate with delight and treated his mouth to many varied textures and tastes.'

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