[ 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.

Origin of venal

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

Related forms

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

Can be confused

venal 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 Forms

venality (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