Would you please tell what does the following mean? Thanks in advance.

"... her skin flushed, and her body felt like a wanton stranger's.

  • 3
    What does a dictionary say???
    – Hot Licks
    Apr 3, 2018 at 12:33
  • Perhaps also add some context, where did you see this sentence?
    – JJJ
    Apr 4, 2018 at 3:44

1 Answer 1


This sounds like a sentence from a Harlequin romance novel, US publisher of soft-core chick lit.

Wanton is defined as...

  1. done, shown, used, etc., maliciously or unjustifiably: a wanton attack; wanton cruelty.

  2. deliberate and without motive or provocation; uncalled-for; headstrong; willful: Why jeopardize your career in such a wanton way?

  3. without regard for what is right, just, humane, etc.; careless; reckless: a wanton attacker of religious convictions.

  4. sexually lawless or unrestrained; loose; lascivious; lewd: wanton behavior.

  5. extravagantly or excessively luxurious, as a person, manner of living, or style.

  6. luxuriant, as vegetation.

While nearly all of these definitions will work, without more context it's hard to pin down the author's precise intention. The leading contenders are the latter three (definitions 4-6) with their sexual connotations. So wanton, in this case, likely refers to a 'forbidden' pleasure.

Stranger's, on the other hand, is most likely a reference to a feeling of alienation akin to psychological dissociation of someone's mind from their body rendering them unable to make conscious, willful decisions of their own volition.

Putting all of this together a plausible interpretation of the meaning of the phrase is...

...her skin flushed, and her body felt a release of sexual luxuriance so unfamiliar it was as if it belonged to someone else...

  • 1
    Please resist doing the research the OP should have done!
    – Hot Licks
    Apr 3, 2018 at 12:33
  • @HotLicks Will observe that admonition going forward.
    – DJohnson
    Apr 3, 2018 at 13:25

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