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

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

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What does the word visceral mean?

According to Collins English Dictionary and the American Heritage Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, the word visceral is an adjective that means having a deep sensibility, or characterized by intuition and instinct over intellect. This can also mean affecting the viscera, or having a bodily reaction to something. The viscera are the internal organs of the body which are located in the large cavity of the trunk like the anatomy of the splanchnic nerve, pancreas, abdomen, stomach, heart, lungs, liver, and intestines. Someone might have a visceral reaction, visceral literary style, or visceral feeling, or in biology, visceral fat or visceral bleeding. Visceral relates to a person’s base emotions and impulse rather than deliberation or spiritual being. Some people have a natural tendency in their genes to be visceral and act with sudden emotion while others do not have this response of the body and central nervous system. Visceral is three syllables – vis-cer-al, and the pronunciation of visceral is vɪsərəl.

What is the origin of the word visceral?

According to Etymonline, the word visceral (adj.) comes from the French viscéral and directly from Medieval Latin visceralis. This comes from Latin viscera, which is the plural of viscus. While the figurative sense vanished after 1640 and the literal sense was first recorded in 1794, the figurative sense was revived in the 1940s in arts criticism.

What are synonyms and antonyms of visceral?

There is a vast collection of many different words that can be used in place of the word visceral, which are known as synonyms. Synonyms are words and phrases that have the same meaning as another word or phrase. Synonyms are very useful to know if you are looking to expand your vocabulary or if you are trying to avoid repeating yourself. This list of synonyms for the word visceral is provided by Power Thesaurus

  •  interior
  •  cecal
  •  ingrained
  •  pyloric
  •  immediate
  •  home
  •  deep-seated
  •  unlearned
  •  private
  •  colonic
  •  entrails
  •  mental
  •  constitutional
  •  internal
  •  stomachic
  •  mechanical
  •  guts
  •  core
  •  deep-rooted
  •  enteric
  •  essential
  •  domestic
  •  personal
  •  indigenous
  •  deep
  •  habitual
  •  unlogical
  •  duodenal
  •  intestinal
  •  abdominal
  •  inborn
  •  feeling
  •  secret
  •  glandular
  •  gastric
  •  inmost
  •  subconscious
  •  reflex
  •  nonrational
  •  endogenous
  •  intrinsic
  •  innermost
  •  splanchnic
  •  gut
  •  remote
  •  involuntary
  •  inland
  •  intuitive
  •  spontaneous
  •  bodily
  •  emotive
  •  physical
  •  rectal
  •  accustomed
  •  basic
  •  central
  •  instinctual
  •  cardiac
  •  typical
  •  emotional
  •  perceptual
  •  heartfelt
  •  heart
  •  coronary
  •  noncognitive
  •  bowel
  •  instinctive
  •  inner
  •  ventral
  •  innate
  •  automatic
  •  inward
  •  deep-down
  •  congenital
  •  intimate
  •  inbred
  •  rooted
  •  second-nature
  •  indwelling
  •  soulful
  •  subjective
  •  inherent
  •  viscerally
  •  in-house
  •  viscerous
  •  knee-jerk
  •  native
  •  unthinking
  •  natural
  •  regular
  •  unmeditated
  •  privy
  •  alimentary
  •  inside
  •  intuitional
  •  impulsive
  •  celiac
  •  normal
  •  autogenous
  •  affective

There are also numerous different words that are the opposite of the word visceral, which are called antonyms. Antonyms are also very useful to know if you are trying to expand your vocabulary and knowledge of the English language. This list of antonyms for the word visceral is also provided by Power Thesaurus

  •  psychogenic
  •  rational
  •  external
  •  erudite
  •  outdoor
  •  dealing out
  •  outer-side
  •  sensible
  •  logical mind
  •  concrete
  •  righteous
  •  intellectual
  •  certain
  •  noological
  •  native
  •  calculated
  •  cortical
  •  sincere
  •  mental
  •  outward-facing
  •  commonwealth office
  •  analytical
  •  extramurally
  •  natural
  •  alfresco
  •  reasonable estimate
  •  from the outside
  •  noetic
  •  essential
  •  commonsensical
  •  factual
  •  judicious
  •  day student
  •  open-air
  •  prudent
  •  it makes perfect sense
  •  pondered
  •  out-of-country
  •  positive
  •  psychologic
  •  surface
  •  real
  •  endopsychic
  •  sane
  •  make a lot of sense
  •  outfielder
  •  psychal
  •  not so dumb
  •  outside of it
  •  cerebral
  •  literal
  •  outer
  •  rosetta
  •  rasheed
  •  exomorphic
  •  logical
  •  make much sense
  •  mused
  •  outside person
  •  supersensual
  •  spiritual
  •  reasonable care
  •  honest
  •  cerebrated
  •  reasonable
  •  wise
  •  incorporeal
  •  absolute
  •  physical
  •  out
  •  brainy
  •  well-thought-out
  •  makes little sense
  •  tangible
  •  off-board
  •  get outside
  •  would be logical
  •  out of home
  •  intellective
  •  uncovered
  •  outside organs
  •  studied
  •  cordial
  •  outside
  •  phrenic
  •  being rational
  •  substantial
  •  highbrow
  •  it made sense
  •  hearty
  •  cogitated
  •  made a lot of sense
  •  psychical
  •  extern
  •  intellect
  •  makes a lot of sense
  •  reasoned

How can the word visceral be used in a sentence?

There are many ways that the word visceral can be used in a sentence in the English language. Using new words in a sentence is a great way to incorporate new lingo into your vocabulary. You can also try making flashcards and quizzes that test your knowledge of the definitions of different English words. Try using this word of the day in a sentence today! Below are a couple of different examples of ways in which the word visceral can be used in the English language to help get your started with using this word. 

The man had a visceral reaction to the language news on Facebook and Twitter. The photos were so graphic he felt he was going to be sick and the vile news any minute.

When she heard that her boyfriend who she had only broken up with two months ago was already engaged to someone else, she reacted viscerally. She boiled up with rage at the engagement photos she saw. 

We had a visceral feeling when we saw the intense film. The tension was so high in the film that we felt like we were there in it with the character. I almost had to leave the theater because it became too much for me. 

Overall, the word visceral means relating to the organs of the body. This word can be sued literally and figuratively. Literally, it is used in sciences like biology and anatomy. Figuratively, it is used when someone has a basal reaction to something rather than an intellectual one. This word is French and Latin in origin. Try using this word of the day in a sentence today!


  1. visceral | Origin and meaning of visceral | Online Etymology Dictionary  
  2. Visceral definition and meaning | Collins English Dictionary 
  3. Visceral synonyms – 235 Words and Phrases for Visceral | Power Thesaurus 
  4. Visceral antonyms – 97 Opposites of Visceral | Power Thesaurus