The Meaning of Consensual: What It Is and How To Use It

Do you know the definition of consensual? This article will provide you with all of the information you need on the word consensual, including its definition, usage, word origin, example sentences, and more!

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Does the word consensual mean?

According to the Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language and other dictionaries like Collins English dictionary and American Heritage, the word consensual is an adjective that means existing, involving, based on, or made by mutual consent with or without an act of writing. The word consensual has been used to refer to the reflexive response of one body structure or some involuntary movement of a body part accompanying the voluntary movement or stimulation of another. This was originally used in optometry to refer to the contraction of the iris around the concurrent constriction of the pupil, it is now most commonly used to refer to Gathering the consent of all parties to take some voluntary action. This is commonly 

Many different languages also have words that mean consensual. You may notice that some of these words look and sound similar to the word consensual. These are called cognates. Cognates are two words in different languages that look and sound similar, and also have a similar meaning. These are often formed when the two words share the same root or language of origin. Learning translations for different words is important if you are going to be traveling or if you are trying to communicate with a person who does not speak English as a first language. This list of translations of consensual is provided by Word Sense.

  •  Greek: συναινετικός‎ (fem.)
  •  Dutch: consensueel‎
  •  Finnish: yhteisymmärrykseen perustuva
  •  Spanish: consensual‎
  •  Welsh: cydsyniol‎
  •  Italian: consensuale‎
  •  Arabic: توافقي‎

How can the word consensual be used in a sentence?

The word consensual can be used in many different sentences in the English language. Using words in a sentence is a great way to memorize their definition and expand your vocabulary. Try using this word of the day in a sentence today. Below are many examples of consensual.

The town found sympathy for the teenage girl when the court ruled that she was not in a consensual marriage, but rather one of obligation. 

The police investigation found an uptick in recent cases of inappropriate messaging by older men to younger women on social media. These photos and messages sent were not a part of a consensual relationship, and the intimate photos were considered sexual harassment that required disciplinary action. 

The Bethel police department reports that the employees were forced to acquiesce to a general agreement by the company that they would not reveal the illegal gambling, drug abuse, consensual crimes of prostitution, or other such illegal transaction that were discovered in the third quarter for the remainder of the year. The careers of men in charge would certainly be destroyed not only by the pact but by the crimes themselves. 

Princeton University found that a faculty member was in a romantic relationship with numerous part-time graduate assistants. The ​university’s p​olicy was that such relationships in an academic environment were not considered consensual because of the conflict of interest. The supervisor found violation of this policy and as such used their advisory responsibilities to fire the involved party. 

Some companies have a policy where a subordinate employee cannot have consensual sexual contact with a higher up, even if the two parties consent. This power differential is also a potential conflict of interest and can have adverse effects on the workplace and make them ripe for a lawsuit. 

Although it was a consensual transaction, in the jurisdiction in which the act took place, paying for sex was illegal for both parties. Both of the men were arrested when they were discovered.

What is the origin of the word consensual?

According to Etymonline, the word consensual has been used since the year 1754. This comes from the stem of the Latin consensus meaning agreement or accord. This is the past participle of consentire. This was used almost exclusively in reference to legal contracts and optometry until it was extended to sociology, physiology, and psychology in the 1950s. Related words include consent, consensus, and non-consensual.

What are synonyms and antonyms for the word consensual?

There are many different words that a person can use in place of the word consensual. These are called synonyms, which are words and phrases that have the same definition as another given word or phrase. Learning synonyms is a great way to expand your English language vocabulary and avoid repeating yourself in written and spoken English. This list of synonyms for the word consensual is provided by Thesaurus

  •  accepted
  •  homogeneous
  •  assenting
  •  concerted
  •  like-minded
  •  concurrent
  •  united
  •  combined
  •  public
  •  accordant
  •  single
  •  communal
  •  unquestioned
  •  shared
  •  unanimous
  •  consistent
  •  concordant
  •  agreed
  •  harmonious
  •  undivided
  •  in complete accord
  •  common
  •  collective
  •  consonant
  •  universal
  •  consentient
  •  as one
  •  with one voice
  •  undisputed
  •  of one mind
  •  popular
  •  agreeing
  •  unified
  •  solid

There are also a number of words that have the opposite meaning of the word consensual. These opposite words are called antonyms. Learning antonyms is another great way to expand your English language vocabulary. This list of antonyms for the word consensual is also provided by Thesaurus.

  •  breach
  •  rent
  •  alienation
  •  difference
  •  break-up
  •  divided
  •  split
  •  detached
  •  dissension
  •  disunion
  •  rupture
  •  fissure
  •  unattached
  •  divergence
  •  schism
  •  fracture
  •  rift
  •  partition
  •  break
  •  discord
  •  estrangement
  •  disruption
  •  division 

Overall, the word consensual is most commonly used to refer to two parties in a sexual relationship having willing participation in some certain act. This can also be used to refer to a reflex action in the medical field, or in any circumstance in which a decision is unanimous or mutual. 


  1. Consensual – Meaning, Translations, Origin | Word Sense
  2. CONSENSUAL Synonyms: 35 Synonyms & Antonyms for CONSENSUAL | Thesaurus 
  3. DIVIDED Synonyms: 12 Synonyms & Antonyms for DIVIDED | Thesaurus  
  4. consensual | Origin and meaning of consensual | Online Etymology Dictionary 
  5. Consensual | Definition of Consensual | Merriam-Webster