banal

adjective ba·nal \ bə-ˈnal , ba- , -ˈnäl ; bā-ˈnal ; ˈbā-nᵊl \
Updated on: 12 Nov 2017

Definition of banal

: lacking originality, freshness, or novelty : trite

banalize

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

banally

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 DeLilloMao II1991
  2. 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
  3. … 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 KidderThe Soul of a New Machine1981
  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 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.

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

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

banal

adjective

Definition of banal for English Language Learners

  • : boring or ordinary : not interesting


Medical Dictionary

banal

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

medical Definition of banal

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


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