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

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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 And yet, the marketplace depends on their willingness to do menial, backbreaking labor for less than minimum wage and without benefits. Carlos Alberto Sánchez,, "Don’t call immigrant farmworkers heroes, they are underappreciated esssential workers," 27 Oct. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Lindsay is the busser, which seems a bit menial for her, but okay. Brian Moylan, Vulture, "Summer House Recap: Skating on Thin Ice," 11 Feb. 2021 Lyle Everingham grew up on a dairy farm, dropped out of college and spent his entire career working in grocery stores, starting with menial jobs as a produce clerk. James R. Hagerty, WSJ, "Kroger CEO Repelled Corporate Raiders and Cut Costs His Own Way," 14 Jan. 2021 Many live in run-down but tightknit urban enclaves such as French Colony, working at menial jobs as cleaners, drivers and cooks. Washington Post, "In Pakistan, fear of virus forces Christians to curtail Christmas celebrations," 24 Dec. 2020 Poshmark sellers have been complaining about the menial, time-intensive aspects of the app for years. Alden Wicker, Wired, "Get Rich Selling Used Fashion Online—or Cry Trying," 10 Dec. 2020 Hazaras, long relegated to menial roles in society, place an especially high value on advanced education for both sons and daughters. Washington Post, "A Kabul student survived an attack on his classroom. Two years later, his brother died in a suicide bombing at the same place.," 27 Oct. 2020 Sutcliffe, who left school at 15, worked menial jobs before becoming a grave digger and truck driver., "U.K.’s “Yorkshire Ripper” Serial Killer Peter Sutcliffe Dies," 13 Nov. 2020 Despite her qualifications, she was relegated to menial tasks that had nothing to do with her experience or education. Hannah K. Sparling, The Enquirer, "'What will it take to break down the walls?' Michele Young has spent her life tackling obstacles.," 8 Nov. 2020 The young Connery worked in menial jobs such as bricklayer, lifeguard and even a coffin polisher after three years of naval service. Bryan Alexander, USA TODAY, "Sean Connery, who defined the role of 'James Bond' for a generation, dies at 90, reports say," 31 Oct. 2020

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.

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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

Time Traveler

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

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Cite this Entry

“Menial.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for menial



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



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


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

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