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.

Nearby words

  1. village community,
  2. villager,
  3. villagery,
  4. villagization,
  5. villahermosa,
  6. villain of the piece, the,
  7. villainage,
  8. villainess,
  9. villainize,
  10. villainous

Origin of villain

1275–1325; Middle English vilein, vilain < Middle French < Late Latin villānus a farm servant. See villa, -an

Related formssub·vil·lain, nounun·der·vil·lain, noun

Can be confusedvillain villein Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for villain

British Dictionary definitions for villain



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
Derived Formsvillainess, fem n

Word Origin for villain

C14: from Old French vilein serf, from Late Latin vīllānus worker on a country estate, from Latin: villa

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

Word Origin and History for villain


Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper