ba·​nal·​i·​ty bə-ˈna-lə-tē How to pronounce banality (audio) bā- How to pronounce banality (audio)
 also  ba-
plural banalities
: something that lacks originality, freshness, or novelty : something banal : commonplace
: 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.
Recent Examples on the Web Cleo stirs in Johnny a sense of wonder absent from the banality of his movie-star life. Sonia Rao, Washington Post, 5 Nov. 2023 Glazer’s film, his first since 2013’s Under the Skin, is an aesthetically austere and chilling contemplation on the banality of evil. Scott Roxborough, The Hollywood Reporter, 1 Sep. 2023 Sentences are short, repetition is frequent, banality and cliché are regularly and deliberately deployed: Helen: What day is today? Sara Holdren, Vulture, 20 Oct. 2023 The trouble — and this is a banality — is that Hollywood doesn’t seem to know what to do with older actresses who aren’t straining to look younger. Ligaya Mishan, New York Times, 19 Oct. 2023 Something close to social apocalypse is apparent in so many shorts that reflect today’s shallow social-justice preoccupations, especially through eros-is-sick conceptual confusion and banality. Armond White, National Review, 4 Oct. 2023 Knausgaard is acutely in tune with the simultaneity of life’s majesty and banality. Charles Arrowsmith, Washington Post, 13 Sep. 2023 The mother superior lectured her on the banality of secular music, and a nun tried to steal her music scores. Jonathan Kandell, New York Times, 17 Aug. 2023 Over the course of his career, Buffett earned their love by transforming himself into a kind of musical shaman who offered transport from the banalities of everyday life to the bounty of a never-never land of eternal sun, endless sandy beaches and bottomless boat drinks: Margaritaville. Drew M. Dalton, Fortune, 10 Sep. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'banality.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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."

First Known Use

1821, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of banality was in 1821

Dictionary Entries Near banality

Cite this Entry

“Banality.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Dec. 2023.

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