[ vil-uhn ]
/ ˈvɪl ən /


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

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

Related forms

sub·vil·lain, nounun·der·vil·lain, noun

Can be confused

villain villein Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for villain

British Dictionary definitions for villain


/ (ˈvɪlən) /


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 Forms

villainess, 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