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Definition: any sin that does not deprive the sinner’s soul from the afterlife

Pronunciation: VENyal

Synonyms: pardonable, forgivable, excusable


The Latin noun of venia is forgiveness or pardon. Old French loaned the later Latin venialis meaning pardonable and turned it into the word’s version as we know it today.

The adjective venial stems from the same origin as venery, which is Venus, the Goddess of Love (and forgiveness?).

Why this word?

Do we really need a reason to remind us of forgiveness’ virtues?

Perhaps we do. As much as we need another word for it!

Can you remember a one single day in the last quite some time, in which you opened the morning newspaper and was not appalled to learn of a new terrible crime, nearby or somewhere out there in the world? The answer to this question is no. No matter where you are.

I’m not, by any means, insinuating the actions we read about are venial. But maybe, if more people practiced higher degrees of forgiveness throughout their lifetimes, just maybe the amount of terrible actions could have been somewhat smaller.

Stemming from the name Venus, the Goddess of love, this adjective reminds us that forgiveness is all about love; both for yourself and the one who sinned against you. Although he too will benefit from your forgiveness, but the major beneficiary will be no one but yourself.

How to use the word venial in a sentence?

Coming across a negative action or deed that can be forgiven, this is a great word to use.

“Holding the child in her hands she knew this deed would prove venial; she knew that this is the child’s only chance. She covered him with everything she could find and shut the door behind her”.

“How can you even claim that cheating on me is venial? Get the hell out of the door!”


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Written by Victoria Sheinkin

Victoria Sheinkin is a writer, content editor, translator and chief editor for Speaking three and a half languages, she holds two BAs from the Tel Aviv university- Communication and jounalism, English literature and linguistics.


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