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a stereotypical villain (1 & 3)

Alternative forms[edit]


Probably from Middle English vilein, from Old French vilein (modern French vilain), in turn from Late Latin villanus, meaning serf or peasant, someone who is bound to the soil of a Latin villa, which is to say, worked on the equivalent of a plantation in late Antiquity, in Italy or Gaul. Doublet of villein.



villain (plural villains, feminine villainess)

  1. (Can we clean up(+) this sense?) A vile, wicked person.
    1. An extremely depraved person, or one capable or guilty of great crimes.
    2. A deliberate scoundrel.
  2. (archaic, derogatory) A low-born, abject person.
  3. In fiction, a character who has the role of being bad, especially antagonizing the hero; an antagonist who is also evil or malevolent.
    Synonyms: antagonist; see also Thesaurus:villain
    • 1904–1905, Baroness Orczy [i.e., Emma Orczy], “The Affair at the Novelty Theatre”, in The Case of Miss Elliott, London: T[homas] Fisher Unwin, published 1905, →OCLC; republished as popular edition, London: Greening & Co., 1909, OCLC 11192831, quoted in The Case of Miss Elliott (ebook no. 2000141h.html), Australia: Project Gutenberg of Australia, February 2020:
      Miss Phyllis Morgan, as the hapless heroine dressed in the shabbiest of clothes, appears in the midst of a gay and giddy throng; she apostrophises all and sundry there, including the villain, and has a magnificent scene which always brings down the house, and nightly adds to her histrionic laurels.
    • July 18 2012, Scott Tobias, AV Club The Dark Knight Rises[1]
      As The Dark Knight Rises brings a close to Christopher Nolan’s staggeringly ambitious Batman trilogy, it’s worth remembering that director chose The Scarecrow as his first villain—not necessarily the most popular among the comic’s gallery of rogues, but the one who set the tone for entire series.
  4. (poker) Any opponent player, especially a hypothetical player for example and didactic purposes. Compare: hero (the current player).
    Let's discuss how to play if you are the chip leader (that is, if you have more chips than all the villains).
  5. Archaic form of villein (feudal tenant, peasant, serf).


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Related terms[edit]


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.


villain (third-person singular simple present villains, present participle villaining, simple past and past participle villained)

  1. (obsolete, transitive) To debase; to degrade[16th century].


  1. ^ Hall, Joseph Sargent (1942 March 2) “2. The Vowel Sounds of Unstressed and Partially Stressed Syllables”, in The Phonetics of Great Smoky Mountain Speech (American Speech: Reprints and Monographs; 4), New York: King's Crown Press, →DOI, →ISBN, § II.2, page 65.

Further reading[edit]



Alternative forms[edit]



  1. (dated) genitive plural of villa


Old French[edit]


villain oblique singularm (oblique plural villainz, nominative singular villainz, nominative plural villain)

  1. Alternative form of vilain