follow Dictionary.com

Know these essential literary terms?

banal

[buh-nal, -nahl, beyn-l] /bəˈnæl, -ˈnɑl, ˈbeɪn l/
adjective
1.
devoid of freshness or originality; hackneyed; trite:
a banal and sophomoric treatment of courage on the frontier.
Origin
1745-1755
1745-55; < French; Old French: pertaining to a ban (see ban2, -al1)
Related forms
banality
[buh-nal-i-tee, bey-] /bəˈnæl ɪ ti, beɪ-/ (Show IPA),
noun
banally, adverb
Synonyms
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source
Examples from the web for banal
  • The architecture is, for the most part, banal.
  • As if this were not bad enough, the script is freighted with a mighty load of banal incidents.
  • Indie rock aficionados may hold themselves above the pop-idol-worshiping masses, but their culture can be just as banal.
  • Background music never need be banal.
  • One may search his words in vain for the facile and banal.
  • Only a banal solution to the mystery spoils an otherwise engrossing read.
  • The session turned sometimes raucous, sometimes banal.
British Dictionary definitions for banal

banal

/bəˈnɑːl/
adjective
1.
lacking force or originality; trite; commonplace
Derived Forms
banality (bəˈnælɪtɪ) noun
banally, adverb
Word Origin
C18: from Old French: relating to compulsory feudal service, hence common to all, commonplace; from banban²
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
Cite This Source
Contemporary definitions for banal
adjective

commonplace; tired or petty

Word Origin

Serbo-Croatian ban 'lord, ruler'

adjective

pertaining to compulsory feudal service

Word Origin

Serbo-Croatian ban 'lord, ruler'

adjective

pertaining to a lord or ruler (banat) in Hungary, Croatia, and thereabouts

Word Origin

Serbo-Croatian ban 'lord, ruler'

Dictionary.com's 21st Century Lexicon
Copyright © 2003-2014 Dictionary.com, LLC
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for banal
adj.

"trite, commonplace," 1840, from French banal, "belonging to a manor, common, hackneyed, commonplace," from Old French banel "communal" (13c.), from ban "decree; legal control; announcement; authorization; payment for use of a communal oven, mill, etc." (see ban (v.)). The modern sense evolved from the word's use in designating things like ovens or mills that belonged to feudal serfs, or else compulsory military service; in either case it was generalized in French through "open to everyone" to "commonplace, ordinary," to "trite, petty."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for banal

Many English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for banal

7
10
Scrabble Words With Friends

Quotes with banal