a. Open to bribery; mercenary: a venal police officer.
b. Characterized by corrupt dealings, especially bribery: a venal arrangement between the police and the drug dealers.
2. Archaic Obtainable for a price.
[Latin vēnālis, from vēnum, sale; see wes-3 in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.