fleshly (comparative fleshlier, superlative fleshliest)

  1. Of or relating to the body.
    Synonyms: bodily, corporeal
    • circa 1596 William Shakespeare, King John (play), Act IV, Scene 2,
      […] in the body of this fleshly land,
      This kingdom, this confine of blood and breath,
      Hostility and civil tumult reigns
      Between my conscience and my cousin’s death.
    • 1645, John Milton, “Il Penseroso” in Poems of Mr. John Milton, both English and Latin, London: Humphrey Moseley, p. 40,
      […] to unfold
      What Worlds, or what vast Regions hold
      The immortal mind that hath forsook
      Her mansion in this fleshly nook:
    • 1668, John Denham (poet), “The Progress of Learning” Part 3, in Poems and Translations; with the Sophy, London: Jacob Tonson, 5th edition, 1709, p. 234,
      When from their fleshly Bondage they are free,
      Then what divine, and future things they see!
    • 1795, Richard Cumberland (dramatist), Henry, London: Charles Dilly, Volume 3, Chapter 7, p. 58,
      those inward pains that agonize us more than all our fleshly wounds
    • 1926, Walter de la Mare, “Missing” in Best Stories of Walter de la Mare, London: Faber and Faber, 1942, p. 175,
      We shook hands—though I doubt if a mere fleshly contact can express much while the self behind it is dumb with instinctive distaste.
  2. Of, relating to or resembling flesh; composed of flesh; having a lot of flesh.
    Synonyms: fleshy
    • 1608, Thomas Middleton, A Mad World, My Masters, London: Walter Burre, Act II,
      […] lay on load enough vpon e’m, and spare e’m not, for the’re good plump fleshly Asses, and may well enough beare it:
    • 1793, uncredited translator, The Natural History of Birds by Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon, London: A. Strahan, T. Cadell and J. Murray, Volume 2, pp. 52-53,
      In almost all birds, except the carnivorous kinds, the male seems to have more power of development, which appears in their greater height, the strength of their muscles, and in certain excrescences, as fleshly membranes, spurs, &c. […]
    • 1970, Patrick White, The Vivisector, London: Penguin, Chapter 1, p. 14,
      He touched the leaves of some of the glossy bushes to find out whether they felt as fleshly as they looked. [At least one U.S. edition has fleshy]
  3. Of or relating to pleasurable (often sexual) sensations.
    Synonyms: carnal, lascivious, sensual
    • 1611, King James Version of the Bible, First Epistle of Peter 2.11,
      […] abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul.
    • 1921, John Dos Passos, Three Soldiers, New York: Modern Library, 1932, Part 4, Chapter 2, p. 238,
      A wave of desire for furious fleshly enjoyments went through him, making him want steaming dishes of food drenched in rich, spice-flavored sauces; making him want to get drunk on strong wine; to roll on thick carpets in the arms of naked, libidinous women.
  4. Of or relating to non-spiritual or non-religious matters.
    Synonyms: secular, worldly
    Antonyms: heavenly, spiritual
    • 1611, King James Version of the Bible, Second Epistle to the Corinthians 1.12,
      […] in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world […]
    • 1857, George Eliot, Scenes of Clerical Life, Volume 2, Chapter 8,
      Opposition may become sweet to a man when he has christened it persecution: a self-obtrusive, over-hasty reformer complacently disclaiming all merit, while his friends call him a martyr, has not in reality a career the most arduous to the fleshly mind.
Translations Adverb


  1. (archaic) In a sensual way; in a sexual way; carnally.
    • 1485, Sir Thomas Malory, [http://quod.lib.umich.edu/c/cme/MaloryWks2/1:17.4?rgn=div2;view=fulltext chapter ij], in Le Morte Darthur, book XV:
      Syr said Launcelot ye saye that that good knyȝt is my sone That ouȝtest thow to knowe and no man better said the good man / For thow knewest the doughter of kyng Pelles flesshely / and on her thow begattest Galahad / And that was he that at the feest of Pentecost satte in the sege peryllous
    • 1992, Adam Thorpe, Ulverton, New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1994, p. 24,
      And the drunkard is with drink. And the ploughman is with his oxen. And the inhabitant of Ulverton doth loll fleshly abed.

This text is extracted from the Wiktionary and it is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license | Terms and conditions | Privacy policy 0.007
Offline English dictionary