menial

noun
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)

menial

adjective

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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from menial

Adjective

menially adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for menial

Synonyms: Noun

daily [British], domestic, flunky (also flunkey), lackey, retainer, servant, slavey, steward

Synonyms: Adjective

abject, base, humble, servile, slavish

Antonyms: Noun

master, mistress

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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: Adjective

Employees of Worry Free dress in jumpsuits, get free room and board (in shoebox apartments), and spend their whole lives doing menial work. David Sims, The Atlantic, "Sorry to Bother You Is Fizzy, Flawed, and Fascinating," 6 July 2018 Disappointed, Li Po returned home and accepted a menial job as a clerk for the county magistrate. Yunte Huang, WSJ, "‘The Banished Immortal’ Review: ‘Heaven Begot a Talent Like Me’," 11 Jan. 2019 Many of their classmates are struggling, selling vegetables or doing menial labor. Annie Gowen, The Seattle Times, "India’s angry young men and its lynch-mob crisis," 27 Aug. 2018 That’s a concern for Russia’s workers and for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar , where migrant workers perform nearly all menial labor and have few legal rights. Washington Post, "Migrant workers the key to Russia’s smooth-running World Cup," 5 July 2018 But beyond that, my experience is that voicebots don't yet add much to the menial tasks of day-to-day computing. Cyrus Farivar, Ars Technica, "“Computer, lights:” How Ars staffers actually use voice-interactive bots," 3 Sep. 2018 After winning power in 2010, Mr. Orban implemented a vast workfare program in which menial tasks have been given to hundreds of thousands of jobseekers — including 73 of the 472 residents of Siklosnagyfalu, a village near the southern border. Patrick Kingsley And Benjamin Novak, New York Times, "An Economic Miracle in Hungary, or Just a Mirage?," 3 Apr. 2018 You either got married and had children or did menial jobs and starved. Lorraine Ali, latimes.com, "Sunday Conversation: Lesley Manville discusses her wide-ranging career and new appreciation for TV," 5 July 2018 While in America Tsang’s mother had to work at menial jobs to support the family. Peter Keough, BostonGlobe.com, "An immigrant story, atrocity tourism, the future of Barbie," 28 June 2018

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.

See More

First Known Use of menial

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined above

Adjective

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about menial

Statistics for menial

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for menial

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for menial

menial

noun

English Language Learners Definition of menial

 (Entry 1 of 2)

old-fashioned : a person (such as a servant) who does boring or unpleasant work for little money : someone who does menial work

menial

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of menial (Entry 2 of 2)

used to describe boring or unpleasant work that does not require special skill and usually does not pay much money

menial

adjective
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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on menial

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with menial

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for menial

Spanish Central: Translation of menial

Nglish: Translation of menial for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of menial for Arabic Speakers

Comments on menial

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

WORD OF THE DAY

standardized text or formulaic language

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Finance Words Quiz

  • a-piggy-bank
  • The etymology of mortgage is related most closely to which two words?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

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

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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