venial & venal

What a pair these are. The difference in form is a mere jot, and both are also alternate forms of venous, but such different blood flows in their veins: sinner’s blood in both cases, but one has a much better chance of making it to Heaven – because someone kept an i on it. The form might incline a reader more towards a negative or sinful tone right off the top; voluptuous Venus vends venery from her v-neck sweater, and vermin envision the venom of such vile vices as they may venture to vent in vengeance… The v even looks like the tooth of crime, or various triangular shapes as may be seen in demimondaine etchings. Other echoes include menial and penal, denial and renal (what’s vile about kidneys? not everyone likes them in their pie, I suppose…). Of course, the al is just an adjectival suffix. The real roots – Latin both, naturally – are venum “that which is for sale or sold” and venia “forgiveness, pardon.” There’s something about that ven in Latin – along with other words mentioned above that came from various Latin ven sources, there’s the famous veni, vidi, vici. But tell me, adventurer: when you came, saw, and conquered (in whatever order), was it forgiveable? Or was it for money?

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