from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A wicked or evil person; a scoundrel.
  • n. A dramatic or fictional character who is typically at odds with the hero.
  • n. Variant of villein.
  • n. Something said to be the cause of particular trouble or an evil: poverty, the villain in the increase of crime.
  • n. Obsolete A peasant regarded as vile and brutish.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. this sense?) (The addition of quotations indicative of this usage is being sought): A vile, wicked person.
  • n. The bad person in a work of fiction; often the main antagonist of the hero.
  • n. Archaic form of villein.
  • v. To debase; to degrade.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Villainous.
  • n. One who holds lands by a base, or servile, tenure, or in villenage; a feudal tenant of the lowest class, a bondman or servant.
  • n. A baseborn or clownish person; a boor.
  • n. A vile, wicked person; a man extremely depraved, and capable or guilty of great crimes; a deliberate scoundrel; a knave; a rascal; a scamp.
  • transitive v. To debase; to degrade.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A member of the lowest class of unfree persons during the prevalence of the feudal system; a feudal serf.
  • n. Hence An ignoble or base-born person generally; a boor, peasant, or clown.
  • n. A man of ignoble or base character; especially, one who is guilty or capable of gross wickedness; a scoundrel; a knave; a rascal; a rogue: often used humorously in affectionate or jocose reproach.
  • Of or pertaining to, or consisting of, villains or serfs.
  • Characteristic of or befitting a villain or slave; servile; base; villainous.
  • To debase; degrade; villainize.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. the principal bad character in a film or work of fiction
  • n. a wicked or evil person; someone who does evil deliberately


Middle English vilein, feudal serf, person of coarse feelings, from Old French, from Vulgar Latin *vīllānus, feudal serf, from Latin vīlla, country house; see weik-1 in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Probably Middle English villein, from Old French villain (modern: 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. (Wiktionary)



Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • Usually, those problems found their source in Tom’s arch-enemy, Crabby Appleton. To this day, I remember how this villain was described on the show. He was “Crabby Appleton—rotten to the core.

    February 28, 2011