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.

Nearby words

  1. villatic,
  2. villavicencio,
  3. ville-de-paris,
  4. villeda morales,
  5. villeda morales, ramón,
  6. villein socage,
  7. villeinage,
  8. villella,
  9. villella, edward,
  10. villeneuve

Also villain.

Origin of villein

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

Can be confusedvillain 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

Word Origin and History for villein

villein

n.

early 14c., spelling variant of villain, referring to a feudal class of half-free peasants.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper