me·​nial | \ ˈmē-nē-əl How to pronounce menial (audio) , -nyəl \

Definition of menial

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a person doing menial work specifically : a domestic (see domestic entry 1 sense 4) servant or retainer (see retainer entry 1 sense 1a)



Definition of menial (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : of or relating to servants : lowly a menial worker
2a : appropriate to a servant : humble, servile answered in menial tones menial household chores
b : lacking interest or dignity a menial task

Other Words from menial


menially adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for menial

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Noun

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Examples of menial in a Sentence

Noun immigrants to that country faced fierce prejudice and could expect to find work only as menials Adjective every command was obeyed in the menial manner of someone who seemed grateful just to be in the presence of a celebrity
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun For Angel, that means figuring out how to survive as a woman who doesn’t want to lead a menial, humdrum life. Los Angeles Times, 14 Apr. 2022 And yet, the marketplace depends on their willingness to do menial, backbreaking labor for less than minimum wage and without benefits. Carlos Alberto Sánchez,, 27 Oct. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The elder architect offered him a job, and the teen spent a summer doing menial tasks, then stayed with the studio for another four years. Justin Fenner, Robb Report, 30 Apr. 2022 When unencumbered by menial administrative tasks, financial advisors can meet compliance requirements with less effort. John Almeida, Forbes, 22 Apr. 2022 Meager rations were provided, and all but the sickest were expected to toil at menial jobs to generate revenue, either on the premises or at factories. New York Times, 23 Dec. 2021 Meanwhile, with scarce employment prospects in their homeland, hundreds of thousands of Koreans had little choice but to relocate to Japan, where they were mostly relegated to menial jobs and faced brutal discrimination. Judy Berman, Time, 25 Mar. 2022 Most are Hakka Chinese — an ethnic group mostly from the Guangdong province of China — who arrived more than 150 years prior for menial labor jobs and then made Tahiti home. Kaila Yu, Travel + Leisure, 13 Mar. 2022 Some were working at menial jobs, as first-generation immigrants always do, but over the years their children largely lived the American dream through training as doctors, scientists, and entrepreneurs. Alex Salkever, Fortune, 4 Mar. 2022 In the Age of Information, though, piecework need not be menial or low-paid. Robert Zafft, Forbes, 20 June 2021 Still, Boothe saw a need for young Black people to find work beyond the menial occupations that often were the only ones available to them. al, 9 Feb. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'menial.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of menial


14th century, in the meaning defined above


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for menial

Adjective and Noun

Middle English meynial, from Anglo-French meignal, from mesnee, mayné household, retinue, from Vulgar Latin *mansionata, from Latin mansion-, mansio dwelling — more at mansion

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Time Traveler for menial

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The first known use of menial was in the 14th century

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Dictionary Entries Near menial



Ménière's disease

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Statistics for menial

Last Updated

23 Apr 2022

Cite this Entry

“Menial.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for menial


me·​nial | \ ˈmē-nē-əl How to pronounce menial (audio) , -nyəl \

Kids Definition of menial

: of or relating to boring or unpleasant work that does not require special skill menial tasks

More from Merriam-Webster on menial

Nglish: Translation of menial for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of menial for Arabic Speakers


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