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venal

[veen-l]
See more synonyms for venal on Thesaurus.com
adjective
  1. willing to sell one's influence, especially in return for a bribe; open to bribery; mercenary: a venal judge.
  2. able to be purchased, as by a bribe: venal acquittals.
  3. associated with or characterized by bribery: a venal administration; venal agreements.
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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

Synonyms

See more synonyms for venal on Thesaurus.com
1. bribable, corruptible.

Synonym study

1. See corrupt.

Antonyms

1. incorruptible.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for venal

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • The fate of the children of venal concubines is generally very sad.

  • They were so venal, too, that they aided the enemy rather than us by their movements.

  • 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

    Alexander Pope


British Dictionary definitions for venal

venal

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

Word Origin

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

adj.

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").

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper