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venial (adj) (of a sin/wrongdoing) minor, forgivable.

A venial sin is a minor sin and can be forgiven. It need not be taken seriously, for it is not something serious. A venial mistake is a small mistake and the person who makes it can be excused.

  • Forced by hunger to steal, he committed the venial sin of snatching bread from off the hands of a child. The onlookers let him off without any action, forgiving him for his minor sin.
  • The manager viewed as venial the lapse of the accountant who made a wrong entry for the sake of a small amount. The manager thought that it was a minor mistake to be forgiven rather than to be punished.
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Last Modified : 11-May 2009
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