banal

adjective
ba·​nal | \ bə-ˈnal How to pronounce banal (audio) , ba-, -ˈnäl; bā-ˈnal How to pronounce banal (audio) ; ˈbā-nᵊl How to pronounce banal (audio) \

Definition of banal

: lacking originality, freshness, or novelty : trite

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Other Words from banal

banalize \ bə-​ˈna-​ˌlīz How to pronounce banalize (audio) , ba-​ , -​ˈnä-​ ; bā-​ˈna-​ ; ˈbā-​nᵊl-​ˌīz \ transitive verb
banally \ bə-​ˈnal-​lē How to pronounce banally (audio) , ba-​ , -​ˈnäl-​ ; bā-​ˈnal-​ ; ˈbā-​nᵊl-​(l)ē \ adverb

Choose the Right Synonym for banal

insipid, vapid, flat, jejune, banal, inane mean devoid of qualities that make for spirit and character. insipid implies a lack of sufficient taste or savor to please or interest. an insipid romance with platitudes on every page vapid suggests a lack of liveliness, force, or spirit. an exciting story given a vapid treatment flat applies to things that have lost their sparkle or zest. although well-regarded in its day, the novel now seems flat jejune suggests a lack of rewarding or satisfying substance. a jejune and gassy speech banal stresses the complete absence of freshness, novelty, or immediacy. a banal tale of unrequited love inane implies a lack of any significant or convincing quality. an inane interpretation of the play

How do you pronounce banal?

There are several pronunciations of banal, but the three most common are \BAY-nul\, \buh-NAHL\, and \buh-NAL\ (which rhymes with canal). The earliest pronunciation given in our dictionaries is the now-unused \BAN-ul\ (rhymes with “flannel); it is attested to in our dictionaries back to the 1800s, but has dropped out of use. \BAY-nul\ is the next oldest pronunciation. The more recent \buh-NAL\ and \buh-NAHL\ came about through French influence, since banal was borrowed into English from French, and those two pronunciations are closer to the French pronunciation of banal. All three pronunciations are acceptable in educated speech; \buh-NAL\ is currently the most common, followed by \BAY-nul\ and then \buh-NAHL. There is no reason to condemn any of them as incorrect.

Examples of banal in a Sentence

The more banal, the more commonplace, the more predictable, the triter, the staler, the dumber, the better. — Don DeLillo, Mao II, 1991 The instructor's script is banal, relying heavily on images of waves on a beach or clouds in the sky. — Maxine Kumin, "Wintering Over," 1979, in In Deep1987 … it seemed to me that computers have been used in ways that are salutary, in ways that are dangerous, banal and cruel, and in ways that seem harmless if a little silly. — Tracy Kidder, The Soul of a New Machine, 1981 He made some banal remarks about the weather. The writing was banal but the story was good.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Ma’s name, Sue Ann Ellington, is a contrivance that combines the socially banal with the culturally extraordinary. Armond White, National Review, "Ma’s Black-Mammy Stereotypes Capture the Illiberal Spirit," 7 June 2019 What was banal can, with the passage of time, become fantastic. Steff Yotka, Vogue, "A Very This-Season Guide to Susan Sontag’s Essay “Notes on Camp”," 9 Apr. 2019 Drake hit us with a 25-song-long album last night, and while discussing the length of albums is as banal as talking about the weather: Ye’s was so short! Allison P. Davis, The Cut, "What Songs Should You Listen To on Scorpion?," 29 June 2018 Netflix's Tidying Up with Marie Kondo may have ridiculously banal content—watching people clean out their closets and drawers—but the emotional toll of letting go is a surprisingly moving experience. Lonnie Firestone, Glamour, "It Took a Fire in My Building to Understand Marie Kondo's Method," 15 Jan. 2019 David Cameron’s friendship with Barack Obama was benign but banal. The Economist, "The special relationship once enriched Britain’s politics. No longer," 5 July 2018 Exhibition and exploitation seem painfully linked in an era where selfies are the norm and sexting scandals have become banal. Harper's BAZAAR, "The Dangers of Parenting a Beautiful Daughter," 6 June 2017 All that prefatory self-indulgence just to hear a banal little piece of fake cabaret music? John Von Rhein, chicagotribune.com, "Glen Ellyn's Jennifer Koh premieres modern takes on Paganini," 29 Jan. 2018 That’s the underlying message of even the most banal Etsy altar-cloth or crystal collection. Aimee Lutkin, Marie Claire, "Charmed, Sabrina, and the Return of the Dark Witch," 6 Sep. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'banal.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of banal

1825, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for banal

French, from Middle French, of compulsory feudal service, possessed in common, commonplace, from ban

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Statistics for banal

Last Updated

13 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for banal

The first known use of banal was in 1825

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More Definitions for banal

banal

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of banal

: boring or ordinary : not interesting

banal

adjective
ba·​nal | \ bə-ˈnal How to pronounce banal (audio) , ba- How to pronounce banal (audio) , -ˈnȧl; bā-ˈnal; ˈbān-ᵊl How to pronounce banal (audio) \

Medical Definition of banal

: of a common or ordinary kind banal skin organisms a banal inflammation

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More from Merriam-Webster on banal

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with banal

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for banal

Spanish Central: Translation of banal

Nglish: Translation of banal for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of banal for Arabic Speakers

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