Definition of carnal in English:


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  • 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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The King portrayed a female vagrant, complete with a garbage bag dress, who goes after a man in hope of satisfying her carnal desires.’
    • ‘The videos apparently distract the viewer's attention from the song to the meaningless portrayal of carnal desires.’
    • ‘For him, though, there's no competition between carnal and spiritual desires.’
    • ‘Satin is sensual and carnal (think satin sheets), but also associated with ritual.’
    • ‘In these works, the wolf-man emerges as a kind of romantic anti-hero, torn between social mores and carnal desire.’
    • ‘But in this struggle it is not the carnal desires that always triumph as some people imagine.’
    • ‘Islam requires that both women and men adopt modest dress that does not inflame carnal desire.’
    • ‘Sensuality is only carnal when it is used indiscriminately, for self-defeating gratification.’
    • ‘Here you will find a room of elegantly erotic mosaics, and sentimentally carnal ceramics.’
    • ‘The majority of the men who frequent dance-halls go there with nothing but carnal thoughts in their minds.’
    • ‘The Wooden Frock is from the Cinderella shelf of the library, the slipper here replaced by the more carnal symbol of a wedding ring.’
    • ‘He took up with a girl who, as well as carnal favours, supplied him with rationed beer and contraband Craven As.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘When Sam's not being offered carnal delights, he is being offered other vices.’
    • ‘This scene gives us our first sighting of Lord Summerisle as well as introducing the more carnal aspects of island life.’
    • ‘It is carnal need, which, by coincidence, is an important part of the expression of love.’
    sexual, sensual, erotic, lustful, lascivious, libidinous, lecherous, licentious, lewd, prurient, salacious, coarse, gross, lubricious, venereal
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/ˈkärn(ə)l/ /ˈkɑrn(ə)l/


Late Middle English from Christian Latin carnalis, from caro, carn- ‘flesh’.