- a cruelly malicious person who is involved in or devoted to wickedness or crime; scoundrel.
- a character in a play, novel, or the like, who constitutes an important evil agency in the plot.
Origin of villain
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for villain
When I play a villain, I always try to make sure they believe what they are doing is right.After The Fall: Introducing The Anti-Villain
December 21, 2014
I say a lot that in the story of racism in America nobody wants to be the villain.The Unbearable Whiteness of Protesting
Rawiya Kameir, Judnick Mayard
December 10, 2014
And if there was a villain on whom to pin this whole struggle—it would be our inner demons.The Walking Dead’s Luke Skywalker: Rick Grimes Is the Perfect Modern-Day Mythical Hero
October 28, 2014
No matter what one thinks of him personally, though, clearly he is a victim here and not a villain.New York & New Jersey’s Ebola Quarantines Are an Insane Overreaction
October 26, 2014
We had hoped that he would be compelling as a villain and he was very much, both the character and the actor.The Leaner, Meaner Season 2 of ‘Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’
September 22, 2014
I never in my life saw any harm done by a villain; I wish I could.Malbone
Thomas Wentworth Higginson
He so humble, so aged, so loth to take our money—and yet a villain and a cheat.The White Company
Arthur Conan Doyle
The villain from whom I hired the outfit said it was complete.In the Midst of Alarms
And do you remember what I said to that villain, Jack Malyoe, that night as his boat went by us?
Well, if all they say is true, the villain has robbed one of his own best friends.
- a wicked or malevolent person
- (in a novel, play, film, etc) the main evil character and antagonist to the hero
- often jocular a mischievous person; rogue
- British police slang a criminal
- history a variant spelling of villein
- obsolete an uncouth person; boor
Word Origin and History for villain
c.1300, "base or low-born rustic," from Anglo-French and Old French villain, from Medieval Latin villanus "farmhand," from Latin villa "country house" (see villa).
The most important phases of the sense development of this word may be summed up as follows: 'inhabitant of a farm; peasant; churl, boor; clown; miser; knave, scoundrel.' Today both Fr. vilain and Eng. villain are used only in a pejorative sense. [Klein]
Meaning "character in a novel, play, etc. whose evil motives or actions help drive the plot" is from 1822.