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[kahr-nl] /ˈkɑr nl/
pertaining to or characterized by the flesh or the body, its passions and appetites; sensual:
carnal pleasures.
not spiritual; merely human; temporal; worldly:
a man of secular, rather carnal, leanings.
Origin of carnal
1350-1400; Middle English < Latin carnālis, equivalent to carn- (stem of carō) flesh + -ālis -al1
Related forms
carnality, carnalness, carnalism, noun
carnally, adverb
hypercarnal, adjective
hypercarnally, adverb
1. bodily, lustful, lecherous, lascivious, libidinous, concupiscent. Carnal, sensual, fleshly, animal all refer to bodily rather than rational or spiritual aspects of humans. Carnal, although it may refer to the body as opposed to the spirit, often refers to sexual needs or urges: carnal cravings, attractions, satisfactions. Sensual implies a suggestion of eroticism: sensual eyes; a sensual dance; it may also refer to experience of the senses: a sensual delight. Fleshly may refer to any physical need or appetite, sex as well as hunger and thirst: the fleshly sin of gluttony; fleshly yearnings. Animal refers to sexual appetites in a censorious way only; it may also describe pleasing or admirable physical characteristics or appearance: animal lust; to move with animal grace. 2. earthly, natural. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for carnally
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Andrew told him about his trip home and the arrangements he had made with carnally, and left soon afterward.

    For the Allinson Honor Harold Bindloss
  • To be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.

    Italy, the Magic Land Lilian Whiting
  • To be carnally minded is death; to be spiritually minded is life and peace.

    Essays on Russian Novelists William Lyon Phelps
  • His reserve and lack of response were not in accordance with what he knew of carnally.

    For the Allinson Honor Harold Bindloss
  • Were you not with carnally when he broke out of the prison camp?

    For the Allinson Honor Harold Bindloss
  • "It might pay—them," said carnally with suggestive emphasis.

    For the Allinson Honor Harold Bindloss
  • carnally called the Chinaman, who took the plate away and substituted a piece of pie and one or two desiccated apricots.

    For the Allinson Honor Harold Bindloss
  • "Mr. Graham is treasurer for the sawmill," carnally explained.

    For the Allinson Honor Harold Bindloss
  • When they had examined the cavity made by the explosion, carnally covered it with snow, and picked up the broken bits of rock.

    For the Allinson Honor Harold Bindloss
British Dictionary definitions for carnally


relating to the appetites and passions of the body; sensual; fleshly
Derived Forms
carnalist, noun
carnality, noun
carnally, adverb
Word Origin
C15: from Late Latin: relating to flesh, from Latin carō flesh
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for carnally

late 15c., "sexually;" 1530s, "corporeally," from carnal + -ly (2).



c.1400, "physical, human, mortal," from Old French carnal and directly from Medieval Latin carnalis "natural, of the same blood," from Latin carnis "of the flesh," genitive of caro "flesh, meat" (see carnage). Meaning "sensual" is from early 15c.; that of "worldly, sinful" is from mid-15c. Carnal knowledge is attested from early 15c. and was in legal use by 1680s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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carnally in the Bible

Unconverted men are so called (1 Cor. 3:3). They are represented as of a "carnal mind, which is enmity against God" (Rom. 8:6, 7). Enjoyments that minister to the wants and desires of man's animal nature are so called (Rom. 15:27; 1 Cor. 9:11). The ceremonial of the Mosaic law is spoken of as "carnal," because it related to things outward, the bodies of men and of animals, and the purification of the flesh (Heb. 7:16; 9:10). The weapons of Christian warfare are "not carnal", that is, they are not of man's device, nor are wielded by human power (2 Cor. 10:4).

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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