Word of the Day

Wednesday, August 31, 2005


\VEE-nee-uhl\ , adjective;
Capable of being forgiven; not heinous; excusable; pardonable.
Look less severely on a venial error.
-- Jean Racine, Phaedra (translated by Robert Bruce Boswell)
His mistake might in other circumstances have seemed a venial one.
-- Michael Knox Beran, The Last Patrician
Committing adultery was a mortal sin, while eating meat on Fridayswas a venial sin.
-- Sheryl McCarthy, "O'Connor Proposal for Meatless Day Is Thoughtless", Newsday, August 12, 1996
Venial comes from Latin venia, "grace, indulgence, favor." It is not to be confused with venal, which means "capable of being bought; salable; open to bribery," and comes from Latin venum "sale." Remember that venial, like sin, has an i in it.
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