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Bodily vs Physical vs Corporeal vs Corporal vs Somatic

Bodily, physical, corporeal, corporal, somatic are comparable when used narrowly to mean of or relating to the human body.

Bodily suggests opposition to mental or intellectual.

Physical (see also MATERIAL), though often used interchangeably with bodily, does not carry so strong a suggestion of organic structure; thus, bodily suffering implies some disturbance within the organism or, if external, some stimulus directly affecting the organism; physical suffering may also mean this, but often it is vaguer and less explicit in its implications or reference.

Corporeal refers more specifically to the substance or matter of which the body is composed; like physical it has a more inclusive sense (see MATERIAL) but when used with reference to the human body, it implies an opposition to immaterial or to spiritual as applied to substance or nature.

Corporal applies almost exclusively to things that have for their object an often painful effect upon the body.

In some contexts (as in “corporal works of mercy”) it may stand in contrast to spiritual. Somatic, because of its freedom from theological and poetic connotations, is now preferred to bodily and corporeal by physiologists, psychologists, and physicians with an implied opposition to psychical.