adjective ba·nal \bə-ˈnal, ba-, -ˈnäl; bā-ˈnal; ˈbā-nəl\

Definition of banal

  1. :  lacking originality, freshness, or novelty :  trite


play \bə-ˈna-ˌlīz, ba-, -ˈnä-; bā-ˈna-; ˈbā-nəl-ˌīz\ transitive verb


play \bə-ˈnal-lē, ba-, -ˈnäl-; bā-ˈnal-; ˈbā-nəl-(l)ē\ adverb

Examples of banal in a sentence

  1. The more banal, the more commonplace, the more predictable, the triter, the staler, the dumber, the better. —Don DeLillo, Mao II, 1991

  2. … 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

  3. 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 Deep, 1987

  4. He made some banal remarks about the weather.

  5. The writing was banal but the story was good.

Recent Examples of banal from the web

These example sentences are collected from online sources. Help us improve them by sending feedback.

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.

Origin and Etymology of banal

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

First Known Use: 1825

Synonym Discussion of 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.

BANAL Defined for English Language Learners


adjective ba·nal \bə-ˈnal, ba-, -ˈnäl; bā-ˈnal; ˈbā-nəl\

Definition of banal for English Language Learners

  • : boring or ordinary : not interesting

Medical Dictionary

adjective ba·nal \bə-ˈnal, ba-, -ˈnȧl; bā-ˈnal; ˈbān-əl\

Medical Definition of banal

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

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up banal? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a rounded knoll or a ridge of ice

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