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 banal (audio) , ba-​ , -​ˈnä-​ ; bā-​ˈna-​ ; ˈbā-​nᵊl-​ˌīz \ transitive verb
banally \ bə-​ˈnal-​lē How to pronounce banal (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 This isn’t the banal age-group, employment, location and shopping habits as often presented. Zak Doffman, Forbes, "This Is Why You Should Delete Facebook," 9 May 2021 On the surface, Grandpa Style appreciation resembles normcore, the aughts trend of dressing in banal basics—such as grey sweats and nothing-to-see-here dress shirts—as a way of turning one’s back on the frenetic fashion market. Jacob Gallagher, WSJ, "Grandpa Style: Why 20-Somethings Are Dressing like Senior Citizens," 19 Apr. 2021 So we can be forgiven for not wanting to tune into a banal at-home viewing of Mank and instead re-watching Superstore for the 100th time. Katherine Singh,, "Twitter Is Not Happy With This One Part Of The Oscars," 26 Apr. 2021 That’s part of the banal reality of white supremacy in Hollywood, which positions white viewers, and white characters, as the default. Hannah Giorgis, The Atlantic, "Who Wants to Watch Black Pain?," 17 Apr. 2021 Many people, myself included, viewed the letter as a critique of identity politics dressed up in banal paeans to the sanctity of free speech. Ryu Spaeth, The New Republic, "John R. MacArthur Is a Disgrace," 3 Mar. 2021 There is something oddly relaxing about a banal item inexplicably shrunken into a fetish object. New York Times, "The Grocery Store of the Mind," 2 Mar. 2021 There’d be lingering shots of people in cafes writing about old-fashioned banal worries in journals. Susanna Schrobsdorff, Time, "What Learned About Ourselves In the First Year of the Pandemic," 28 Feb. 2021 More broadly, interests that are banal to one person, might be sensitive, private or even dangerous to another person. Chris Smith, BGR, "Here’s why the Brave browser is blocking Google’s new FLoC tracking," 13 Apr. 2021

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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Last Updated

12 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Banal.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for banal



English Language Learners Definition of banal

: boring or ordinary : not interesting


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

More from Merriam-Webster on banal

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for banal

Nglish: Translation of banal for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of banal for Arabic Speakers

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