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!
Examples of venal in a sentence
that judge is known for being venal and easily bought
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
First Known Use: 1652
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
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