Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Easily excused or forgiven; pardonable: a venial offense.
  • adj. Roman Catholic Church Minor, therefore warranting only temporal punishment.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Pardonable; able to be forgiven
  • adj. Excusable; trifling

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Capable of being forgiven; not heinous; excusable; pardonable.
  • adj. Allowed; permitted.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • That may be forgiven; pardonable; not very sinful or wrong: as, a venial sin or transgression. See sin, 1.
  • Excusable; that may be allowed or permitted to pass without severe censure.
  • Permissible; harmless; unobjectionable.
  • Synonyms and Venial, Excusable, Pardonable. Excusable and pardonable are applied to things small and great, but pardonable primarily applies to greater offenses, as pardoning is a more serious act than excusing. Excusable may be applied where the offense is only in seeming. Venial applies to things actually done; the others may apply to infirmities and the like. Venial, by theological use, is often opposed, more or less clearly, to mortal.
  • n. A venial sin or offense.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. warranting only temporal punishment
  • adj. easily excused or forgiven

Etymologies

Middle English, from Old French, from Late Latin veniālis, from Latin venia, forgiveness; see wen-1 in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Old French venial, from Late Latin veniālis ("pardonable"), from Latin venia ("forgiveness") (Wiktionary)

Examples

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • A venial sin is not a mortal sin.

    August 12, 2008