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[buh-nal, -nahl, beyn-l] /bəˈnæl, -ˈnɑl, ˈbeɪn l/
devoid of freshness or originality; hackneyed; trite:
a banal and sophomoric treatment of courage on the frontier.
Origin of banal
1745-55; < French; Old French: pertaining to a ban (see ban2, -al1)
Related forms
[buh-nal-i-tee, bey-] /bəˈnæl ɪ ti, beɪ-/ (Show IPA),
banally, adverb
Synonyms Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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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


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
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Contemporary definitions for banal

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

Word Origin

Serbo-Croatian ban 'lord, ruler''s 21st Century Lexicon
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Word Origin and History for banal

"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
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