Definition of venal in English:
- Leaders have offered the people little but venal, corrupt governance for decades.
- That said, of course there are many self serving, venal politicians.
- But politicians are expected to be venal and self-serving if given the chance.
mid 17th century (in the sense 'available for purchase', referring to merchandise or a favor): from Latin venalis, from venum 'thing for sale'.
This adjective meaning ‘motivated by susceptibility to bribery’ was initially used in the sense ‘available for purchase’, referring to merchandise or a favour. Latin venalis is the source, from venum ‘thing for sale’.
Venal and venial are sometimes confused. Venal means ‘corrupt, able to be bribed, or involving bribery’: local customs officials are notoriously venal, and smuggling thrives. Venial is used to describe a sin or offense that is ‘pardonable, excusable, not mortal’: in our high school, smoking cigarettes was a venial sin.
- Example sentences
- Back then, the venality of the criminals was often matched by the corruption of the police.
- One after another, scandal stories have tumbled onto front pages during the past month - tales of sordid excess, gross stupidity, evil venality and troubling secrecy in high places.
- It's not like we've a shortage of venality, corruption and lust (not to mention hypocrisy) in this country.
- Example sentences
- The argument seemed so compellingly moral and just, the counter-argument so venally self-interested.
- Lately, I've been thinking a lot about history of this industry and how stupidly and/or venally it has been managed.
- Children are quite capable, I think, of appreciating when playing along is to their advantage and, less venally, when playing along is something they think will please their parents.
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