Word of the Day

Wednesday, June 28, 2006


\VEE-nuhl\ , adjective;
Capable of being bought or obtained for money or other valuable consideration; held for sale; salable; purchasable.
Capable of being corrupted.
Marked by or associated with bribery and corrupt dealings.
Not everything was so venal in this operation, however. Sometimes votes were bought outright, but this was frowned on if the sums were too high.
-- Kenneth R. Johnston, The Hidden Wordsworth
The news items accumulate to project an image of French politics as venal, power-mongering, and posing a crazy threat to all those values of humanity and civilization that Picasso's work had always embraced.
-- Rosalind E. Krauss, The Picasso Papers
While the enemy in Vietnam was mysterious and, to some Americans, heroic, America's allies in Saigon seemed venal and corrupt, more interested in graft than in combat and unable to rally their people behind a common cause or to create an effective military force.
-- Charles E. Neu, After Vietnam
Magistrates were expected to supplement their modest incomes, in theory from personal fortunes, in reality from a variety of venal practices.
-- Michelle De Kretser, The Rose Grower
Venal comes from the Latin venalis, from venum, "sale." It is related to vendor and vending machine. Be careful not to confuse it with venial, "easily excused or forgiven."
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