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[vil-uh-nuh s] /ˈvɪl ə nəs/
having a cruel, wicked, malicious nature or character.
of, relating to, or befitting a villain:
villainous treachery.
outrageously base, wicked, or vile:
a villainous attack on his character.
very objectionable or unpleasant; bad; wretched:
a villainous storm.
Origin of villainous
1300-50; Middle English; see villain, -ous
Related forms
villainously, adverb
villainousness, noun
nonvillainous, adjective
nonvillainously, adverb
nonvillainousness, noun
unvillainous, adjective
unvillainously, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
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Examples from the Web for villainous
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The speaker was a young man, not over one and twenty years of age; yet he was a most wretched and villainous looking fellow.

    City Crimes Greenhorn
  • He dare not act openly in this villainous design, and will not appear in it.

    The Quadroon Mayne Reid
  • Frank had spotted Half Hand, and he felt that it would be some satisfaction to send a bullet after the villainous half-blood.

    Frank Merriwell's Bravery Burt L. Standish
  • Dibbs, how dare you tell your mistress such a villainous falsehood!

    Three Hats Alfred Debrun
  • He is the notorious leader of this villainous gang—an outlaw with a price on his head.

    The Gypsy Queen's Vow May Agnes Fleming
  • Did not I tell you last week that I was tired of that villainous compound?

    Olla Podrida Frederick Marryat (AKA Captain Marryat)
British Dictionary definitions for villainous


of, like, or appropriate to a villain
very bad or disagreeable: a villainous climate
Derived Forms
villainously, adverb
villainousness, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for villainous

c.1300, from Old French vileneus, from villain; see villain.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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