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Webster 1913 Edition


Venal

Ve′nal

(vē′nal)
,
Adj.
[L.
vena
a vein.]
Of or pertaining to veins; venous;
as,
venal
blood
.
[R.]

Ve′nal

,
Adj.
[L.
venalis
, from
venus
sale; akin to Gr.
ὦνοσ
price, Skr.
vasna
: cf. F.
vénal
.]
Capable of being bought or obtained for money or other valuable consideration; made matter of trade or barter; held for sale; salable; mercenary; purchasable; hireling;
as,
venal
services
.
“ Paid court to venal beauties.”
Macaulay.
The
venal
cry and prepared vote of a passive senate.
Burke.
Syn. – Mercenary; hireling; vendible.
Venal
,
Mercenary
. One is mercenary who is either actually a hireling (as, mercenary soldiers, a mercenary judge, etc.), or is governed by a sordid love of gain; hence, we speak of mercenary motives, a mercenary marriage, etc. Venal goes further, and supposes either an actual purchase, or a readiness to be purchased, which places a person or thing wholly in the power of the purchaser;
as, a
venal
press
. Brissot played ingeniously on the latter word in his celebrated saying, “ My pen is venal that it may not be mercenary,” meaning that he wrote books, and sold them to the publishers, in order to avoid the necessity of being the hireling of any political party.
Thus needy wits a vile revenue made,
And verse became a
mercenary
trade.
Dryden.
This verse be thine, my friend, nor thou refuse
This, from no
venal
or ungrateful muse.
Pope.

Webster 1828 Edition


Venal

VE'NAL

,
Adj.
[L. vena, a vein.] Pertaining to a vein or to veins; contained in the veins; as venal blood. [See Venous, which is generally used.]

VE'NAL

,
Adj.
[L. venalis, from venco, to be sold.]
1.
Mercenary; prostitute; that may be bought or obtained for money or other valuable consideration; as a venal muse; venal services.
2.
That may be sold; set to sale; as, all offices are venal in a corrupt government.
3.
Purchased; as a venal vote.

Definition 2022


venal

venal

See also: vénal

English

Adjective

venal (comparative more venal, superlative most venal)

  1. venous; pertaining to veins

Etymology 2

From French vénal, from Old French venel, from Latin vēnālis (for sale), from vēnum (something for sale); compare vend.

Adjective

venal (comparative more venal, superlative most venal)

  1. (archaic) For sale; available for purchase.
  2. Of a position, privilege etc.: available for purchase rather than assigned on merit.
    • 2002, Colin Jones, The Great Nation, Penguin 2003, p. 140:
      Thus, regimental commands in the army were – as with the judiciary or the financial bureaucracy – venal posts, which were purchased, bequeathed and sold among the nobility.
  3. Capable of being bought (of a person); willing to take bribes.
  4. (of behaviour etc.) Corrupt, mercenary.
    • 1785, The Times, 9 Feb 1785, page 1, column C:
      Though there is a disposition in mankind, to declaim against the corruption and peculation of the present times, as being more venal than formerly; yet, if we look back to different periods, we shall find statesmen and politicians, as selfish and corrupt, (...) as those who have lately figured on the political stage.
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Spanish

Adjective

venal m, f (plural venales)

  1. venous
  2. venal, corruptible
  3. sellable