Definition of venial in US English:



Christian Theology
  • 1Denoting a sin that is not regarded as depriving the soul of divine grace.

    Often contrasted with mortal
    • ‘Yet despite their magnitude, these sins are of the venial rather than the mortal variety.’
    • ‘If that's not a mortal sin, it's got to be up there on the venial meter.’
    • ‘So does Michelle consider Tony's slip of the tongue and miraculous recovery of memory a venial or a mortal sin?’
    • ‘Confession had always rested on a clear distinction between mortal and venial sins.’
    • ‘Faught is guilty of this offense, but the sin is a venial one.’
    1. 1.1 (of a fault or offense) slight and pardonable.
      • ‘For a start, it's hard to imagine a more venial form of corruption than merely speeding along someone's visa application.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Luckily, the production is strong enough elsewhere for this to remain a venial sin.’
      • ‘Even quite venial offenders were sentenced to death.’
      • ‘Epstein openly admits to some ignoble if venial attitudes.’
      pardonable, forgivable, excusable, condonable, tolerable, permissible, allowable, understandable, justifiable
      View synonyms


See venal


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