villein

[ vil-uhn, -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.

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Also villain.

Origin of villein

Middle English word dating back to 1275–1325; see origin at villain
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Example sentences 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