Definition of venial in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈvēnēəl/


Christian Theology
1Denoting a sin that is not regarded as depriving the soul of divine grace. Often contrasted with mortal.
Example sentences
  • Faught is guilty of this offense, but the sin is a venial one.
  • Yet despite their magnitude, these sins are of the venial rather than the mortal variety.
  • So does Michelle consider Tony's slip of the tongue and miraculous recovery of memory a venial or a mortal sin?
1.1(Of a fault or offense) slight and pardonable.
Example sentences
  • It was a venial mistake on Hume's part to include a reference to the mind's propensity in what was supposed to be a definition of causality.
  • Epstein openly admits to some ignoble if venial attitudes.
  • Even quite venial offenders were sentenced to death.
forgivable, pardonable, excusable, allowable, permissible;
slight, minor, unimportant, insignificant, trivial, trifling;
Law  de minimis


See venal (usage).



Pronunciation: /ˌvēnēˈalədē/
Example sentences
  • Given the veniality of some of the poorest countries' administrations, this is a harsh call.
  • Maybe there is some connection here, but its very odd to describe anyone as motivated by veniality.
  • Is this supposed to show the veniality and pettiness of a typical cabinet office?


Example sentences
  • Stealing a candy bar, for example, may be judged venially sinful because of its relative parvity of matter.
  • It was at best only venially sinful for procreative purposes within marriage.
  • Envy can be mortally or venially sinful according to its degree of gravity and, as a capital sin, it leads to other sins.


Middle English: via Old French from late Latin venialis, from venia 'forgiveness'.

Words that rhyme with venial

congenial, genial, menial

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: ve·ni·al

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