Why was clemency trending last week?


[vee-nee-uh l, veen-yuh l] /ˈvi ni əl, ˈvin yəl/
able to be forgiven or pardoned; not seriously wrong, as a sin (opposed to mortal).
excusable; trifling; minor:
a venial error; a venial offense.
Origin of venial
1250-1300; Middle English < Medieval Latin veniālis, equivalent to Latin veni(a) grace, favor, indulgence (akin to venus; see venerate, Venus) + -ālis -al1
Related forms
veniality, venialness, noun
venially, adverb
unvenial, adjective
unvenially, adverb
unvenialness, noun
unveniality, noun
Can be confused
venal, venial.
2. slight, pardonable, forgivable. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for venial
  • In fact, it's not the great but the venial sins that you think of with horror when you've read this book.
  • But his mistakes are venial, outweighed by his vivid, visceral prose.
  • And rudeness, as long as it is non-violent, is a venial sin.
British Dictionary definitions for venial


easily excused or forgiven: a venial error
Derived Forms
veniality (ˌviːnɪ'ælɪtɪ) noun
venially, adverb
Word Origin
C13: via Old French from Late Latin veniālis, from Latin venia forgiveness; related to Latin venus love
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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Word Origin and History for venial

c.1300, from Old French venial, from Latin venialis "pardonable," from venia "forgiveness, indulgence, pardon," related to venus "sexual love, desire" (see Venus).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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