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

Putting these findings in context is difficult, as trackers are endemic across the web, with many having banal applications. James Vincent, The Verge, "Google and Facebook’s tracking software is widely used on porn sites, shows new study," 18 July 2019 The wordless action is an exercise in hyperrealism, drawing attention to the slow passing of time and to the banal ways that mental illness manifests itself. Manuel Mendoza, Dallas News, "Dallas theater festival deals with mental illness and other issues facing us in these anxious times," 18 July 2019 While the lawyers in the book are caricatures, their more banal counterparts – lawyers like me who once routinely inserted confidentiality provisions into settlement agreements – are no less complicit. Elizabeth C. Tippett, The Conversation, "Weinstein may be a monster, but the lawyers who enabled him are the real villains in #MeToo takedown ‘She Said’," 12 Sep. 2019 Fellow brunch-hater Arsalun Tafazoli set out to change the brunch narrative in San Diego and instead blew it up with his riotously pink, Little Italy antidote to the banal. San Diego Union-Tribune, "We hate brunch. But we love these 10 brunch spots," 8 Aug. 2019 Imagine if a new acquaintance asked to see the contents of your backpack or a week of your browser history before engaging in even the most banal small talk. Pamela Pavliscak, Quartz, "Forget AI ethics—treat technology like a new relationship instead," 2 Aug. 2019 Sometimes in the most banal situations something just comes back, pops back. Tom Philip, GQ, "Lynne Ramsay Knows What You Expect from an Action Movie, and She's Not Going to Give It to You," 6 Apr. 2018 His ability to penetrate to the expressive essence of even the most banal romantic poetry, with a voice of no great size, but a softly pleasing timbre, vibrato, was remarkable. John Von Rhein, chicagotribune.com, "With new song cycle, Lawrence Brownlee explores a black man's life in America," 20 Feb. 2018 There’s nothing banal or benign about the hat, no matter its wearer’s intent. Washington Post, "The MAGA hat is not a statement of policy. It’s an inflammatory declaration of identity.," 17 Aug. 2019

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

17 Oct 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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