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Alternative forms[edit]

Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English vileinie, vileynye, from Anglo-Norman vilenie, from Old French vilanie.


villainy (countable and uncountable, plural villainies)

  1. (uncountable) Evil or wicked character or behaviour.
    • 1977, Star Wars, spoken by Obi-Wan Kenobi (Alec Guinness):
      Mos Eisley spaceport- you will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy. We must be cautious.
  2. (countable) A wicked or treacherous act.
    • 1838, [Letitia Elizabeth] Landon (indicated as editor), Duty and Inclination: [], volume III, London: Henry Colburn, [], →OCLC, pages 292–293:
      He drew from his pocket a pistol, which, devoid of principle or honour, with an assassin-like assault, he instantly aimed at the breast of Lord Deloraine, but which, in the struggle that ensued, as if by retributive justice, went off unexpectedly and lodged its contents in the body of Melliphant,—thus doomed to receive his punishment by his own hand, and by the very weapon he had carried for his own defence in the perpetration of his villanies.
  3. (uncountable, obsolete) Ill-treatment, indignity, degrading or shameful treatment of someone.
  4. (uncountable, obsolete) Disgrace, ignominy.
  5. (uncountable, obsolete) The state of being a villein or serf, and by extension servitude or low estate in life.
  6. (uncountable, obsolete) Boorishness, rudeness, bad cultivation or manners.

Etymology 2[edit]

From villain +‎ -y.


villainy (comparative more villainy, superlative most villainy)

  1. Characteristic of a villain.
    • 1839, Robert Folkestone Williams, The Youth of Shakspeare:
      We are all villainy— very villainy, as I am a Christian man.
    • 1993, William Froug, Screenwriting Tricks of the Trade, page 51:
      Apparently, in both domestic and foreign movies, you can't get too villainy to displease an audience.
    • 2019, Greg Gutfeld, The Gutfeld Monologues, page 166:
      Yet here, actual reality offers you the worst villain ever and you say, sorry, he is too villainy.