[ veen-l ]
/ ˈvin l /


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.

Nearby words

  1. vena cava,
  2. vena contracta,
  3. venacavography,
  4. venae cavernosae penis,
  5. venae rectae,
  6. venality,
  7. venally,
  8. venatic,
  9. venation,
  10. vend

Origin of venal

1645–55; < Latin vēnālis, equivalent to vēn(um) (accusative) for sale (cf. vend) + -ālis -al1

Related formsve·nal·ly, adverbnon·ve·nal, adjectivenon·ve·nal·ly, adverbun·ve·nal, adjective

Can be confusedvenal venial

Synonym study

1. See corrupt. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for venal

British Dictionary definitions for venal


/ (ˈviːnəl) /


easily bribed or corrupted; mercenarya venal magistrate
characterized by corruptiona venal civilization
open to purchase, esp by briberya venal contract
Derived Formsvenality (viːˈnælɪtɪ), nounvenally, adverb

Word Origin for venal

C17: from Latin vēnālis, from vēnum sale

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

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").

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper