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.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use villein in a sentence
After the Norman invasion the name of villein, a person attached to the villa, was given to the serfs.Landholding In England | Joseph Fisher
A case still more familiar to most readers is that of the word villain or villein.A System of Logic: Ratiocinative and Inductive | John Stuart Mill
"I very much would like to see a villein drown," cried a lad of eleven years, son of the Sire of Bourgeuil.The Iron Trevet or Jocelyn the Champion | Eugne Sue
The villein took the cruel blow without wince or cry, as one to whom stripes are a birthright and an inheritance.The White Company | Arthur Conan Doyle
The villein regardant might be severed from the manor, with or without land, and would then become a villein in gross.
British Dictionary definitions for villein
(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
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