arch·​vil·​lain (ˌ)ärch-ˈvi-lən How to pronounce archvillain (audio)
plural archvillains
: a principal or extreme villain
Mr. Bernstein is very much in labor's corner as he recounts his story, and he portrays Mr. Lorenzo as an archvillain, heaping blame on him at every turn.William Stockton, New York Times Book Review, 26 Aug. 1990
Literary archvillains include Sherlock Holmes' archfoe Professor James Moriarty and Captain Ahab's murderous Moby Dick.Sol Steinmetz, Semantic Antics, 2008

Word History

First Known Use

circa 1616, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of archvillain was circa 1616

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Cite this Entry

“Archvillain.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 Dec. 2023.

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