Definition of venal in English:

venal

adjective

  • Showing or motivated by susceptibility to bribery.

    ‘why should these venal politicians care how they are rated?’
    ‘their generosity had been at least partly venal’
    • ‘The political institution and party to which he has devoted a political career spanning half a century are utterly venal.’
    • ‘Starring Eric Idle as a director, it portrays everyone in Hollywood as either effete New Agers or venal bullies.’
    • ‘But politicians are expected to be venal and self-serving if given the chance.’
    • ‘Leaders have offered the people little but venal, corrupt governance for decades.’
    • ‘That said, of course there are many self serving, venal politicians.’
    • ‘She is many things - venal, arrogant, authoritarian, ruthless - but she is no dummy.’
    • ‘It is bad enough that so many players have acquired a cynical and venal attitude but should spectators do likewise the game at top level is finished.’
    • ‘How can the parties expect voter loyalty if they consistently assume voters are just venal and self interested?’
    • ‘As boring meeting after boring meeting takes place, we are supposed to care about these venal, self-absorbed egomaniacs.’
    • ‘Those visionaries passed and were replaced by venal men who don't care for independence or sovereignty and who want to sell the country to the US.’
    • ‘Ambition for power and other venal motivations are built into the structure of democracy.’
    • ‘He regarded publishers, agents and reviewers as stupid and venal.’
    • ‘They may well be venal, amoral egomaniacs, but the one thing you can pretty much guarantee is that they will be sharp-tongued.’
    • ‘On my scale of morality, the selling of charlie to City high-flyers and celebrities is at worst venal, and possibly not immoral at all.’
    • ‘From this perspective, could any commercial interest be otherwise than venal?’
    • ‘Virtually all of the clergy are portrayed as venal and conspiratorial.’
    • ‘The emotional depth of the cast, whether it's Graham or one of his venal bosses, lends a dramatic weight to the story.’
    • ‘What damages teenagers is an adult world which caricatures them as vain, promiscuous, stupid and venal.’
    • ‘In hindsight, we know that much of the prosperity was a bubble fueled by venal corporate criminals.’
    • ‘The National candidate is portrayed as a venal, cynical and arrogant.’
    corrupt, corruptible, bribable, open to bribery, purchasable, buyable, grafting
    dishonest, fraudulent, dishonourable, untrustworthy, unscrupulous, unprincipled
    mercenary, avaricious, grasping, rapacious
    bent, crooked, warped, shady
    simoniacal, simoniac
    View synonyms

Usage

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

Origin

Mid 17th century (in the sense available for purchase referring to merchandise or a favor): from Latin venalis, from venum thing for sale.

Pronunciation

venal

/ˈvēnl/