Mundane means ordinary.The word is mostly used in negative sense.Can the word "mundane" be used in positive sense too? Like"Mr.K is not a wasteful man.He leads a very mundane life."Another example can be"Miss ABC does not show off in front of others.She is a mundane girl."In the examples I am referring mundane to be "ordinary" and in positive sense.Can the examples be used? or is it wrong technically?

  • 3
    In a word, yes. When the commonplace, everyday or ordinary (but not the banal) is desirable, what's mundane is a positive virtue. You're right that 'mundane' is often used with negative connotations, but it is not exclusively or necessarily so. Whether or not the word is understood negatively will depend on the context (connotations), and it will be up to the writer to make clear what sense is intended.
    – JEL
    Commented May 25, 2016 at 4:44
  • 3
    Sure: "After the police activity, its nice to return to a mundane commute"
    – user662852
    Commented May 25, 2016 at 15:55
  • "Aliens!" "Ghosts!!" "International conspiracy!!!" "No, there is a perfectly mundane explanation." (That sounds like a positive to me, but others may disagree, if they believe in aliens, for example.)
    – user323578
    Commented Apr 15, 2019 at 15:11

4 Answers 4


It isn't technically wrong, but it's almost certain to be misunderstood by the listener. Consider instead:

  • frugal (the opposite of wasteful)
  • unassuming
  • modest
  • humble
  • unpretentious
  • so the examples written by me are correct? Commented May 25, 2016 at 4:53
  • If I read the examples with "mundane", I would not be sure of the writer's intention. @Malvolio's examples are excellent.
    – Law29
    Commented May 25, 2016 at 6:10

'Mundane' with the meaning of 'dull and ordinary' (as opposed to 'worldly') is almost always used negatively (or at best neutrally). A positive sense can only be accomplished by a context that somehow makes both dull and ordinary positive qualities.

Replacement by either 'dull' or 'ordinary' might be a good idea.

  • You are citing another answer to the same question as your source. This isn't kosher.
    – ab2
    Commented Aug 7, 2016 at 23:00
  • @ab2 OK. Removed.
    – Řídící
    Commented Aug 8, 2016 at 6:08

Technically, in the denotative (dictionary) meaning, it is not correct, but it may be misunderstood. It has a bad connotation, as in: boring, uneventful.

Here are words with better connotations.

  • Peaceful
  • Modest
  • Practical

Mark Strand's poem, The Continuous Life, introduces mundane as something deeply positive, in that the parents' devotion to the ordinary things of life is what gives freedom to children, both in the immediate and in the future.

The poem begins like this...

What of the neighborhood homes awash
In a silver light, of children hunched in the bushes,
Watching the grown-ups for signs of surrender,
Signs that the irregular pleasures of moving
From day to day, of being adrift on the swell of duty,
Have run their course? O parents, confess
To your little ones the night is a long way off
And your taste for the mundane grows; tell them
Your worship of household chores has barely begun;

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