venal

adjective ve·nal \ ˈvē-nᵊl \

Definition of venal

1 :capable of being bought or obtained for money or other valuable consideration :purchasable; especially :open to corrupt influence and especially bribery :mercenary
  • a venal legislator
2 :originating in, characterized by, or associated with corrupt bribery
  • a venal arrangement with the police

venality

play \vi-ˈna-lə-tē\ noun

venally

play \ˈvē-nᵊl-ē\ adverb

venal was our Word of the Day on 05/09/2011. Hear the podcast!

Examples of venal in a Sentence

  1. that judge is known for being venal and easily bought

Recent Examples of venal from the Web

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

Did You Know?

If you are given the choice between acts that are "venal" and those that are "venial," go for the venial. Although the two words look and sound alike, they have very different meanings and histories. "Venal" demonstrates the adage that anything can be had if the price is high enough and the morals are low enough. That word originated with the Latin venum, which simply referred to something that was sold or for sale. Some of those transactions must have been rather shady, because by the mid-1600s, "venal" had gained the sense of corruption it carries today. "Venial" sins, on the other hand, are pardonable, the kind that show that everyone makes mistakes sometimes. That forgiving term descends from "venia," Latin for favor, "indulgence," or "pardon."

Origin and Etymology of venal

borrowed from Latin vēnālis "that may be bought, for sale," from *vēnus "sale" (attested only in accusative vēnum and dative vēnō, vēnuī; akin to Greek ônos "price," Sanskrit vasna- "price, value") + -ālis 1-al


VENAL Defined for English Language Learners

venal

adjective

Definition of venal for English Language Learners

  • : willing to do dishonest things in return for money



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