- willing to sell one's influence, especially in return for a bribe; open to bribery; mercenary: a venal judge.
- able to be purchased, as by a bribe: venal acquittals.
- associated with or characterized by bribery: a venal administration; venal agreements.
Origin of venal
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for venal
Only someone working for the “Venal Perverted West” would question it.Putin’s Dream of Empire Doesn’t Stop at Crimea, Or Even Ukraine
March 23, 2014
For there to be any chance, all parties have to stop the venal and viral vitriol.Cut the Baloney on Ukraine
Leslie H. Gelb
March 9, 2014
Decadent, venal, ineffective, stratified, anxiety-ridden, stumbling from one declared crisis to the next—who wants that?The Real Clash of Civilizations
March 1, 2014
On the Daily Show, Gates piled on, calling Congress “venal and small.”Rep. David Price Remembers When a Less Partisan Congress Actually Worked
January 26, 2014
The stereotypical congressperson is venal, petty, self-interested, and oblivious to the consequences of his or her actions.Good Riddance, Max Baucus
April 24, 2013
The fate of the children of venal concubines is generally very sad.The Sexual Question
They were so venal, too, that they aided the enemy rather than us by their movements.The Memoirs of Louis XIV., His Court and The Regency, Complete
Duc de Saint-Simon
And the venal English press which conceals the fact, what shall be said of it?Ireland as It Is
Robert John Buckley (AKA R.J.B.)
This man was the Tweed of Mexico, and one of the most venal officials ever trusted by the people.Aztec Land
Maturin M. Ballou
Yet then did Gildon draw his venal quill;— I wished the man a dinner, and sat still.Essay on Man
- easily bribed or corrupted; mercenarya venal magistrate
- characterized by corruptiona venal civilization
- open to purchase, esp by briberya venal contract
Word Origin and History for venal
1650s, "offered for sale, capable of being obtained for a price," from French vénal, from Latin venalis "that is for sale," from venum (nominative *venus) "for sale," from PIE root *wes- "to buy, sell" (cf. Sanskrit vasnah "purchase money," vasnam "reward," vasnayati "he bargains, haggles;" Greek onos "price paid, purchase," oneisthai "to buy").