Definition of venal
venalityplay \vi-ˈna-lə-tē\ noun
venallyplay \ˈvē-nəl-ē\ adverb
venal was our Word of the Day on 05/09/2011. Hear the podcast!
Theme music by Joshua Stamper ©2006 New Jerusalem Music/ASCAP
Examples of venal in a Sentence
that judge is known for being venal and easily bought
Recent Examples of venal from the Web
This clever hack exploits our most primal needs for affirmation, generally from the most venal of motivations.
But Peña Nieto has fared poorly as president, weakened by scandals, disappointing growth and the perception that Mexico’s ruling class is irredeemably venal and out of touch.
Venal politicians continue sucking the blood of the Republic.
But amid even the worst federal scandals, Watergate included, the country has never been nationally profiled as crooked—a venal society from coast to coast, from dogcatcher to commander-in-chief.
America is, at its core, a nasty, venal, selfish and racist culture.
Not all of the venal characters here have brown skin or foreign accents, and, in one thread, anti-Muslim bigotry, not radical terror, is the problem.
Thanks mainly to TV newscasters wearing their patriotism on their sleeves, the public no longer perceives the press as venal, unethical and dishonest.
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."
VENAL Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of venal for English Language Learners
: willing to do dishonest things in return for money
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up venal? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).