Definition of venial in US English:



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

    ‘we cannot prevent ourselves sometimes from dreaming of performing venial if not mortal sins’
    Often contrasted with mortal
    ‘everything I've disclosed up to now can be seen as venial’
    • ‘Confession had always rested on a clear distinction between mortal and venial sins.’
    • ‘So does Michelle consider Tony's slip of the tongue and miraculous recovery of memory a venial or a mortal sin?’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Faught is guilty of this offense, but the sin is a venial one.’
    1. 1.1 (of a fault or offense) slight and pardonable.
      • ‘Epstein openly admits to some ignoble if venial attitudes.’
      • ‘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.’
      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’.