villein

[ vil-uh n, -eyn, vi-leyn ]
/ ˈvɪl ən, -eɪn, vɪˈleɪn /

noun

a member of a class of partially free persons under the feudal system, who were serfs with respect to their lord but had the rights and privileges of freemen with respect to others.
Also villain.

Origin of villein

Middle English word dating back to 1275–1325; see origin at villain

Can be confused

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

Examples from the Web for villein

British Dictionary definitions for villein

villein

villain

/ (ˈvɪlən) /

noun

(in medieval Europe) a peasant personally bound to his lord, to whom he paid dues and services, sometimes commuted to rents, in return for his land

Word Origin for villein

C14: from Old French vilein serf; see villain
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