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#1 2006-08-09 15:00:53

lanegreene
Member
Registered: 2006-08-09
Posts: 1

"venal sins", for "venial sins"

A classic eggcorn – similar phonologically, and “venal sins” (little sins of corruption) makes about as much sense as “venial sins”. 1280 google hits.

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#2 2011-05-09 15:24:53

kem
Eggcornista
From: Victoria, BC
Registered: 2007-08-28
Posts: 2146

Re: "venal sins", for "venial sins"

The Merriam-Webster word-of-the-day highlights the venal/venial confusion:


Although the two words look and sound alike, they have very different meanings and histories. “Venal” demonstrates the adage that anything can be had if the price is high enough and the morals are low enough. That word originated with the Latin “venum,” which simply referred to something that was sold or for sale. Some of those transactions must have been rather shady, because by the mid-1600s, “venal” had gained the sense of corruption it carries today. “Venial” sins, on the other hand, are pardonable, the kind that show that everyone makes mistakes sometimes. That forgiving term descends from “venia,” Latin for “favor,” “indulgence,” or “pardon.”

A double Ph.D. in engineering and linguistics would be required to describe the semantic bridges built between these two sound-alike-mean-alike words.

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#3 2011-05-14 09:40:03

DavidTuggy
Eggcornista
From: Mexico
Registered: 2007-10-12
Posts: 1776
Website

Re: "venal sins", for "venial sins"

kem wrote:

A double Ph.D. in engineering and linguistics would be required to describe the semantic bridges built between these two sound-alike-mean-alike words.

No. But if you could do it well, you would be worthy of such honors.

(I expect you, as I, know lots of wise people without Ph.D’s and fools with them.)


*If the human mind were simple enough for us to understand,
we would be too simple-minded to understand it* .

(Possible Corollary: it is, and we are .)

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