venial sin


Definition of venial sin

1 : a sin that is relatively slight or that is committed without full reflection or consent and so according to Thomist theology does not deprive the soul of sanctifying grace — compare mortal sin
2 : a minor offense

Examples of venial sin in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web My reservations have little to do with standard criticisms like awkward performances or clunky production values — venial sins, surely, for new filmmakers trying to find their way. Justin Chang,, "A Christian critic wrestles with new biblical films and the hope of a better 'faith-based' cinema," 30 Mar. 2018

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

First Known Use of venial sin

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

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Cite this Entry

“Venial sin.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 24 January 2020.

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venial sin


English Language Learners Definition of venial sin

in the Roman Catholic Church : a sin (such as stealing something small) that is not very serious and will not result in punishment that lasts forever

More from Merriam-Webster on venial sin

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with venial sin Encyclopedia article about venial sin

Comments on venial sin

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a feeling of well-being or elation

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