Definition of menial in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˈmēnēəl/


1(Of work) not requiring much skill and lacking prestige: menial factory jobs
More example sentences
  • They will be allowed to perform menial tasks that require no skill whatsoever.
  • The nearest university is a six to eight hours drive, so many of the children go on to work in a nearby factory doing menial labour.
  • Transcribing the information was menial work that did not require her level of expertise to do - it was likely this guy just wanted her to do the work for him, so he would not have to.
unskilled, lowly, humble, low-status, inferior, degrading;
routine, humdrum, boring, dull
1.1 [attributive] dated (Of a servant) domestic.
Example sentences
  • The worst definition for a woman's occupation was the one she was likeliest to have: a menial servant.
  • In the eleventh century the Norse kings probably had an immediate retinue of about ninety men, excluding menial servants and hangers on.
  • Owen lowered his gaze as they passed the two guards posted nearby and adopted the attitude of a menial servant busy running an errand.


1A person with a menial job.
Example sentences
  • Despite tall claims that a determined attempt to eradicate child labour has been initiated, hundreds and thousands of children are still languishing as menials in households, if not in hazardous industries.
  • As a menial, I was never told who these men were, never introduced to them, but I assumed they were the backers who had money at risk.
  • While she was gone a menial came by to light the ceiling lamps, a touch with a burning taper on the end of a pole and the gas wicks glowed to life.
1.1 dated A domestic servant.
Example sentences
  • Though the play dealt with serious issues like the domestic help being regarded as ‘untouchables’ and treated as menials, it elicited plenty of laughter from the crowd.
servant, drudge, minion, joe-boy, factotum, lackey, hired hand
informal wage slave, gofer, peon, grunt
archaic scullion



Example sentences
  • Because statistics show that the menially impaired are the most likely to be abused, all doors have porthole windows.
  • Her forced smile says that she's making the best of a very difficult life, having to work so menially just to survive.
  • As time marched on, Suzie sat at her desk and performed her menial task as menially as she could, and because of this, her writing changed.


Late Middle English (in the sense 'domestic'): from Old French, from mesnee 'household'.

Words that rhyme with menial

congenial, genial, venial

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: me·ni·al

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Related Words