banal

adjective
ba·​nal | \ bə-ˈnal How to pronounce banal (audio) , ba-, -ˈnäl How to pronounce banal (audio) ; bā-ˈnal; 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 The country-wide quarantine has highlighted for most of us how putting on a little lipstick or mascara can make a difference in an otherwise banal or disappointing day. Shalwah Evans, Essence, "Here's How Beauty Can Have Long-term Positive Effects On Your Mental Health," 17 June 2020 But to call it a tragedy implies immense powers at work, gods or fates or forces of nature, whereas the rise of the scientific method resulted from human activity of the most banal variety. Jessica Riskin, The New York Review of Books, "Just Use Your Thinking Pump!," 17 June 2020 Our history includes high drama, banal routine, and everything in between. Rebecca Pacheco, BostonGlobe.com, "When a car becomes a companion, how do you know when it’s time to let it go?," 6 Feb. 2019 Cynics often talk about the inevitability that our heroes disappoint us, which is a banal prediction based on trying to avoid admitting a bad feeling. Haley Mlotek, The New Republic, "Barbara Ehrenreich Still Wants to Be Surprised," 1 June 2020 In return for your data, these companies give you a chance to interact with other users and share your life no matter how interesting or banal. Stan Horaczek, Popular Science, "How to take back the information you’ve given to all your favorite apps and websites," 28 May 2020 And that fact alone brings a new meaning—and a new weight—to even the most banal of our pleasantries. Megan Garber, The Atlantic, "The Utter Weirdness of Small Talk in a Pandemic," 19 Mar. 2020 Toilet paper rolls become Renaissance-era neck ruffs — melding the banal with the sublime. Isabella Kwai, New York Times, "Coronavirus, Italy, Kim Jong-un: Your Monday Briefing," 27 Apr. 2020 Suggestions of conspiracy range from the outlandish to the banal. The Economist, "Out of the shadows The freemasons want to be known for hand wash, not handshakes," 25 Apr. 2020

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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Time Traveler for banal

Time Traveler

The first known use of banal was in 1825

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Statistics for banal

Last Updated

28 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Banal.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/banal. Accessed 8 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for banal

banal

adjective
How to pronounce banal (audio) How to pronounce banal (audio) How to pronounce banal (audio)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for banal

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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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