mid-14c., "the part of man that is concerned with the senses," from O.Fr. sensualité
, from L.L. sensualitatem
) "capacity for sensation," from L. sensualis
"endowed with feeling, sensitive," from sensus
"feeling" (see sense
). Chiefly "animal instincts and appetites," hence "the lower nature regarded as a source of evil, lusts of the flesh" (1620s).