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

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

Using euphemisms to cover for atrocities is the essence of the banality of evil. Anna Lind-guzik, Vox, "I’m a Jewish historian. Yes, we should call border detention centers “concentration camps.”," 20 June 2019 In keeping with Jarmusch’s casual, laid-back, we’re-not-really-trying style, the cast of The Dead Don’t Die just goes with the flow, repeating banalities as the carnage rips along. Kyle Smith, National Review, "If Hipsters Became Zombies, Could We Tell the Difference?," 11 June 2019 In a festival landscape that’s become homogenous to the point of banality, in terms of both lineups and style, Marfa Myths still manages to surprise on both fronts. Vogue, "Online Ceramics Tees, Cowboy Hats, and Marbled Tie-Dye: The Best Street Style From Marfa Myths," 16 May 2019 Consider that systemization of banality known as Axios. Holman W. Jenkins, WSJ, "Press Is the Enemy of Climate," 4 Dec. 2018 The deliberate attention that Gras pays to Kasongo’s every move, and the slow pacing of the film, transform what might sound like banality into something mesmerizing and ultimately heartwrenching. Alissa Wilkinson, Vox, "The 11 best documentaries of 2018," 5 Dec. 2018 He has been criticized for the supposed banality of his theories, for his rambling and provocative rhetoric, and for his association with online self-help products. Yoram Hazony, WSJ, "Jordan Peterson and Conservatism’s Rebirth," 15 June 2018 The emerging theme seems to be an emphasis on banality, on the pleasantly comforting and invitingly harmless. Aja Romano, Vox, "Dank no more: internet memes are evolving from edgy to cute.," 3 Oct. 2018 For McCain’s days right now — and his book — are a plea to Americans to reconsider, and to reclaim, the principles and even the rhetoric that are our ancient heritage and not, to his mind, antiquarian, obsolete banalities. David M. Shribman,, "John McCain fears for America and thinks you should too," 16 May 2018

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.

See More

First Known Use of banality

1821, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for banality

see banal

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about banality

Dictionary Entries near banality

Banahao, Mount





banana belt

banana bird

Statistics for banality

Last Updated

28 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for banality

The first known use of banality was in 1821

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on banality

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with banality

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for banality

Spanish Central: Translation of banality

Nglish: Translation of banality for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of banality for Arabic Speakers

Comments on banality

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


to form ideas or theories about something

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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