Etymology
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sensuous (adj.)

1640s, "pertaining to or derived from the senses" From Latin sensus (seesense (n.)) + -ous. Apparently coined by Milton to recover the not unfavorable original meaning of sensual and avoid the lascivious connotation the older word had acquired. It was popularized by Coleridge to "express in one word all that appertains to the perception, considered as passive and merely recipient" (1814), and OED reports that "evidence of its use in the intervening period is wanting." By 1870 sensuous, too, had started down the voluptuary path and come to mean "alive to the pleasures of the senses."  Related: Sensuously; sensuousness; sensuosity.

updated on May 06, 2022

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