Something venial (like a sin, a crime, or a mistake) is not a big deal, so it can be overlooked, excused, or forgiven.
VEE nee ull
Part of speech:
(Adjectives are describing words, like “large” or “late.”
They can be used in two ways:
1. Right before a noun, as in “a venial omission.”
2. After a linking verb, as in "The omission was venial.”)
How to use it:
Talk about venial sins, crimes, mistakes, errors, slips, vices, follies, flaws, acts or actions, etc.
The opposite of "venial" is "mortal" or "deadly," so you might sometimes talk about venial sins vs. mortal sins or deadly sins, either in a serious religious context, or a lighthearted one like this: "In her classroom, talking out of turn is a venial offense, but misusing an apostrophe is a mortal one."
It might seem silly when book reviewers keep slamming the author for venial slips in grammar (because isn't the story what matters?) but I do find that kind of error really distracting from a story.
E-cigarettes may not be the venial vice that some people think they are; there's a small but growing body of evidence about the harm they can cause, according to the American Lung Association.
Look away from the screen to explain the definition in your own words. You’ll know you understand what "venial" means when you can explain it without saying "minor" or "forgivable."
Think of something that your parents, boss, or teacher let you get away with, and fill in the blanks: "I definitely wasn't allowed to _____, but _____ was apparently a venial sin."
Example: "I definitely wasn't allowed to talk on the phone to my friends while working at the drug store, but chatting with them while they hung around in person was apparently a venial sin."
Spend at least 20 seconds occupying your mind with the game and quote below. Then try the review questions. Don’t go straight to the review now—let your working memory empty out first.
Playing With Words:
This month, we're sampling questions from Orijinz, an awesome series of games about the origins of words, phrases, and quotes. Click here if you want to check them out. They're compact--perfect for stockings. Just saying. :) Try a question here each day this month, and see the right answer the next day. Have fun!
"Guess the word!
Origin: From a Greek word meaning 'one who eats at another’s table.'
Definition: A person or organism that itself contributes nothing but lives off another person or organism."
"The word is: Parasite.”
"Guess the phrase!
Origin: Pipe organs have a stop that controls the volume of the organ by adjusting the airflow. The condition when the organ is playing at its loudest inspired this phrase.
Definition: To spare no effort, to use all available resources."
A Point Well Made:
Muhammed: “Do you love your Creator? Love your fellow beings first.”
1. The opposite of VENIAL is
2. If an employer is looking for a reason to _____ you, any venial _____ will do.
A. hire .. qualification
B. promote .. project
C. fire .. transgression
Answers are below.
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Make Your Point is crafted with love and brought to you each day for free by Mrs. Liesl Johnson, M.Ed., a word lover, learning enthusiast, and private tutor of reading and writing in the verdant little town of Hilo, Hawaii. For writing tips, online learning, essay guidance, and more, please visit www.HiloTutor.com.
Disclaimer: Word meanings presented here are expressed in plain language and are limited to common, useful applications only. Readers interested in authoritative and multiple definitions of words are encouraged to check a dictionary. Likewise, word meanings, usage, and pronunciations are limited to American English; these elements may vary across world Englishes.
You might see today's word and think, "Hey, didn't we do this one already?"
We did recently look at venal, only one letter off from today's venial. How might you keep them straight?
As I often do, I recommend looking to the words' roots to find a reason for the similarity or difference instead of first trying to make up a memory trick. However, today that method won't really work for us, so we'll turn to mnemonics as a back-up. Let me show you what I mean:
~ The venal person is greedy and unprincipled, willing to take bribes. This word comes from the Latin venalis, meaning "for sale."
~ The venial mistake is excusable and not really a big deal. This one comes from Latin venia, meaning "pardon."
Often, when you look up the word roots for two words that you're trying to keep straight, it helps you discover meaningful connections to other words, which makes the difference in spelling between your two confusing words suddenly purposeful and, therefore, easier to remember. (This works really well if you're trying to make sense of imminent, immanent, and eminent, for example--see the discussion on the page for immanent.) Today, we hoped to think of words that sound like venalis that have to do with stuff being for sale, and words that sound like venia that have to do with pardons.
But I can't seem to find any. So that method fails this time. Sorry!
Let's try a memory trick instead. "Venal" rhymes with "penal," which as we know means "punishment," and the venal person should be punished. And "venial" rhymes with "genial," which we know means "warm and friendly," and the venial error deserves a warm and friendly "Nah, don't worry about it, no big deal!"
Too long, didn't read? The gist was that it's better to find meaningful connections to help you keep similar-sounding words straight, and if that won't work, try a memory trick.
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