banal

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

Definition of banal 

: lacking originality, freshness, or novelty : trite

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from banal

banalize \bə-​ˈna-​ˌlīz, ba-​, -​ˈnä-​; bā-​ˈna-​; ˈbā-​nᵊl-​ˌīz \ transitive verb
banally \bə-​ˈnal-​lē, 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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

Images range from the banal, like a woman dropping papers, to others resembling a screenshot from Worldstar, like catfighting couples. Liana Satenstein, Vogue, "How Rihanna’s Footwear Designer Created the Creepiest Lookbook Of The Year," 16 July 2018 Paramount Network America in 2018 is a bleak and hopeless hellscape of a country, one in which the banal horror of everyday life is marked intermittently by periods of senseless cruelty and violence. Constance Grady, Vox, "The Heathers TV show was pulled following a mass shooting — for the third time this year," 29 Oct. 2018 The spending ranged from the banal to lavish, from movie tickets to $6,288.74 for Hunter to take his family on a vacation to a resort in Lahaina, Hawaii. Michael R. Blood And Julie Watson, The Seattle Times, "Uncertainty looms over House race after Hunter indictment," 21 Aug. 2018 There have been several other similarly banal activities viewed with a suspicious lens in recent weeks. Kristine Phillips, latimes.com, "A black lawmaker was campaigning door to door in her district. A constituent called 911," 5 July 2018 There have been several other similarly banal activities viewed with a suspicious lens in recent weeks. Kristine Phillips, Washington Post, "A black lawmaker was campaigning door to door in her district. A constituent called 911.," 5 July 2018 There’s an arresting sequence of extracting caviar from sturgeon in China and some fairly banal chitchat with François Hollande, France’s former president. Florence Fabricant, New York Times, "Documentary Follows Alain Ducasse on a Quest for Perfection," 4 June 2018 There have been several other similarly banal activities viewed with a suspicious lens in recent weeks. Kristine Phillips, Washington Post, "A black lawmaker was campaigning door to door in her district. A constituent called 911.," 5 July 2018 Indeed, in the same interview, Giuliani called for James Comey to be prosecuted and Hillary Clinton to be thrown in prison, beliefs that, in the Trump era, have become almost banal. Jonathan Chait, Daily Intelligencer, "Giuliani’s FBI ‘Stormtroopers’ Smear Is the Key to Trump’s Authoritarian Mind-set," 3 May 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about banal

Statistics for banal

Last Updated

28 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for banal

The first known use of banal was in 1825

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for banal

banal

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of banal

: boring or ordinary : not interesting

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Comments on banal

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

WORD OF THE DAY

amusing and light sparring with words

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Late Autumn 2018 Words of the Day Quiz

  • frosted-autumn-leaves
  • Which is a synonym of yahoo?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!