a stereotypical villain (1 & 2)

Alternative formsEdit


Probably from Middle English villein, 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.


  • IPA(key): /ˈvɪl.ən/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɪlən


villain (plural villains, feminine villainess)

  1. (Can we clean up(+) this sense?) (The addition of quotations indicative of this usage is being sought:) A vile, wicked person.
    1. An extremely depraved person, or one capable or guilty of great crimes.
    2. A deliberate scoundrel.
  2. In fiction, a character who has the role of being bad, especially antagonizing the hero.
    Synonyms: antagonist; see also Thesaurus:villain
    • 1905, Baroness Emmuska Orczy, chapter 2, in The Affair at the Novelty Theatre[1]:
      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[2]
      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.
  3. (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).
  4. Archaic form of villein.


Derived termsEdit

Related termsEdit


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. 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.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Sir T. More to this entry?)

Further readingEdit



Alternative formsEdit



  1. (dated) Genitive plural form of villa.


Old FrenchEdit


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

  1. Alternative form of vilain