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From French voluptuaire, or directly from its etymon Late Latin voluptuārius, from Latin voluptārius (pleasure-seeker; agreeable, delightful, pleasant; sensual), from voluptās (delight, pleasure, satisfaction)[1] + -ārius (suffix forming adjectives from nouns). Voluptās is derived from volup (with pleasure; agreeably, pleasantly, satisfactorily) (ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *welh₁- (to choose; to want)) + -tās (suffix forming feminine abstract nouns indicating a state of being).


  • (Received Pronunciation) IPA(key): /vəˈlʌptʃʊəɹi/, /vəˈlʌptʃʊɹi/, /vəˈlʌptʃɹi/, /-tjʊ-/
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  • (General American) IPA(key): /vəˈlʌp(t)ʃʊˌɛɹi/, /-ˈləp-/
  • Hyphenation: vo‧lup‧tu‧a‧ry


voluptuary (plural voluptuaries)

  1. One whose life is devoted to sensual appetites; a pleasure-seeker, a sensualist.
    Synonyms: voluptuarian; see also Thesaurus:sensualist

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voluptuary (not comparable)

  1. Of or relating to the seeking of sensual pleasure.
    • 1605, Francis Bacon, “The Second Booke”, in The Tvvoo Bookes of Francis Bacon. Of the Proficience and Aduancement of Learning, Diuine and Humane, London: [] [Thomas Purfoot and Thomas Creede] for Henrie Tomes, [], OCLC 932932554, folio 44, verso:
      For as it hath beene well obſerued, that the Arts which flouriſh in times, while vertue is in growth, are Militarie: and while vertue is in State are Liberall; and while vertue is in declination, are voluptuarie; ſo I doubt, that this age of the world, is ſomewhat vpon the deſcent of the wheele; with Arts voluptuarie, I couple practiſes Iocularie; for the deceiuing of the ſences, is one of the pleaſures of the ſences.
    • 1744, Cicero, “Book the Third”, in William Guthrie, transl., The Morals of Cicero. [], London: [] T. Waller, [], OCLC 1227566585, chapter III, page 149:
      As to mental Perturbations, which render the Lives of Fools miſerable and calamitous, [] All theſe Perturbations may be comprehended under four general Heads, but admit of many Subdiviſions. Their general Diviſion is into Uneaſineſs, Fear, Luſt, and that voluptuary Elevation of a wanton Spirit which I call Joy; though the Stoics generally term it both as applicable to Soul and Body, ἡδονη.
    • 1836 January–April, “Article IX. Memoirs of Lord Bolingbroke. By George Wingrove Cook[e], Esq. 2 vols. 8vo. London: 1835. [book review]”, in The British and Foreign Review; or, European Quarterly Journal, volume II, number III, London: James Ridgway and Sons, OCLC 1078154832, pages 231-232:
      He [Henry St. John, 1st Viscount Bolingbroke] takes infinite pains to persuade himself that God neither exerts any providence here, nor any retribution hereafter; and therefore the ambitious man may pursue power, and the voluptuary pleasure, to any excess, or in any form, without apprehending either any present compunction, or future punishment.
    • 1901–1903, John Tanner [pseudonym; George Bernard Shaw], “[The Revolutionist’s Handbook and Pocket Companion] Prudery Explained”, in Man and Superman. A Comedy and a Philosophy, Westminster [London]: Archibald Constable & Co., published 1903, OCLC 899619, page 199:
      When a great French writer, Emil Zola, alarmed at the sterilization of his nation, wrote an eloquent and powerful book to restore the prestige of parentage, it was at once assumed in England that a work of this character, with such a title as Fecundity, was too abominable to be translated, and that any attempt to deal with the relations of the sexes from any other than the voluptuary or romantic point of view must be sternly put down.
    • 1942, T[homas] S[tearns] Eliot, “Little Gidding”, in Four Quartets, New York, N.Y.: Harcourt, Brace and Company, published 1943, OCLC 1089585092, section I, stanza 2, pages 31–32:
      If you came this way, / Taking the route you would be likely to take / From the place you would be likely to come from, / If you came this way in may time, you would find the hedges / White again, in May, with voluptuary sweetness.



  1. ^ voluptuary, n. and adj.”, in OED Online Paid subscription required, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, March 2021; “voluptuary, n. and adj.”, in Lexico, Dictionary.com; Oxford University Press, 2019–present.

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