ba·​nal·​i·​ty | \ bə-ˈna-lə-tē How to pronounce banality (audio) , bā- How to pronounce banality (audio) also ba- \
plural banalities

Definition of banality

1 : something that lacks originality, freshness, or novelty : something banal : commonplace
2 : the quality or state of lacking new or interesting qualities : the quality or state of being banal

Examples of banality in a Sentence

The trip offers an escape from the banalities of daily life. We exchanged banalities about the weather. The writing never rose above banality.
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Recent Examples on the Web The reader is frankly relieved when the band eventually settles into the banality of inconsistent live shows and tax troubles. Washington Post, 2 Dec. 2021 Purely, brilliantly reflecting the banality of evil, a remorseless killer without motive or reason, destructive impulse made flesh in Anytown USA. Mark Hughes, Forbes, 29 Oct. 2021 The Velvet Underground has not entirely escaped aging into banality: Replications of the Andy Warhol image of a banana that graced the group’s debut album now grace junk at the mall. Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, 16 Oct. 2021 McKay lands a few clean arrows in all this, not least with Rylance's spooky plasticity (the banality of evil, indeed). Leah Greenblatt,, 7 Dec. 2021 It’s not quite right to say that there’s a streak of innocence in the nightmare of this film, but certainly a streak of normality and even banality, which assumes its own surreal tone. Mark Olsen, Los Angeles Times, 12 Nov. 2021 Shona McAndrew’s life-size sculptures of women draw from both personal experience and observation, simultaneously calling attention to the banality and importance of life’s most fleeting, introspective moments. Paul Jebara, Forbes, 27 Sep. 2021 The game can be aggressively aggravating, especially given the banality of its dialogue. Washington Post, 27 Aug. 2021 How does mind-numbing banality become heart-racing excitement? New York Times, 11 Oct. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'banality.' 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 banality

1821, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for banality

borrowed from French banalité, from banal "available for general use, commonplace, banal" + -ité -ity

Note: The modern French word is probably an eighteenth-century coinage, and not continuous with Middle French bannalité "a feudal lord's right to extract usage fees, area under such a jurisdiction."

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The first known use of banality was in 1821

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Last Updated

13 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Banality.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for banality



English Language Learners Definition of banality

: something that is boring or ordinary especially : an uninteresting statement : a banal remark
: the quality of being ordinary or banal

More from Merriam-Webster on banality

Nglish: Translation of banality for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of banality for Arabic Speakers


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