ve·​nial | \ ˈvē-nē-əl How to pronounce venial (audio) , -nyəl \

Definition of venial

: of a kind that can be remitted : forgivable, pardonable also : meriting no particular censure or notice : excusable venial faults

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Other Words from venial

venially adverb
venialness noun

Examples of venial in a Sentence

taking the restaurant's menu as a souvenir seems like a venial offense
Recent Examples on the Web This is, of course, the day-to-day venial reality for attorneys who don’t prosecute serial killers, and Saul can always extrapolate small crimes into tall tales. Darren Franich,, "The death and life of the lawyer show," 18 June 2020 Taibbi favors a cynical style evenly applied across the universe of real and perceived journalistic trespasses, challenging a reader to sort mortal from venial. Ann Marie Lipinski, Washington Post, "Who split America? A journalist looks to his own for answers.," 18 Oct. 2019 His presence was more difficult to justify than the venial offenses of Spygate or Deflategate., "Patriots fans can now enjoy football guilt-free," 22 Sep. 2019 How much damage must populism do before conservatives treat the worst excesses of its flagship as warranting as much attention as the most venial mainstream media sins? Conor Friedersdorf, The Atlantic, "Can Conservative Journalism Survive?," 19 Sep. 2017 That said, your sin was venial at best, whereas your aunt’s behavior is churlish and wildly out of proportion. Mallory Ortberg, Slate Magazine, "Prudie counsels a woman whose husband once refused to talk dirty but now won’t shut up.," 16 May 2017 Sins have been admitted to, or just disclosed, both venial and mortal, but this admission, because involuntary, is without contrition. Joshua Cohen, WIRED, "The Great Tech Panic: What If All Your Secrets Became Public Information?," 25 Aug. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'venial.' 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 venial

14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for venial

Middle English, borrowed from Anglo-French & Late Latin; Anglo-French, borrowed from Late Latin veniālis, from Latin venia "favor, kindness, indulgence, pardon" (derivative of a verbal base *wen- "desire," whence also vener-, venus "sexual desire") + -ālis -al entry 1 — more at venus

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Time Traveler for venial

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

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Cite this Entry

“Venial.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for venial



English Language Learners Definition of venial

: not serious

More from Merriam-Webster on venial

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for venial

Nglish: Translation of venial for Spanish Speakers

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