vil·​lain | \ ˈvi-lən How to pronounce villain (audio) \

Definition of villain

1 : a character in a story or play who opposes the hero
2 : a deliberate scoundrel or criminal
3 : one blamed for a particular evil or difficulty automation as the villain in job … displacement— M. H. Goldberg
5 : an uncouth person : boor

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Examples of villain in a Sentence

He plays the villain in most of his movies. She describes her first husband as a villain who treated her terribly. Don't try to make me the villain. It's your own fault that you're having these problems.
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Recent Examples on the Web Christmas, still not wanting to be painted as a total villain, asks Da’Vonne about how Bayleigh is feeling. Kyle Fowle,, "Big Brother recap: An explosive fight acts as a reminder of the issues plaguing Big Brother," 11 Sep. 2020 Trump has long been a cartoon-like villain for moderates and progressives. Los Angeles Times, "News Analysis: Joe Biden will take the helm of a nation divided," 7 Nov. 2020 Al Pacino leads Christopher Nolan’s atmospheric thriller, which captures the dislocation of Alaska’s endless daylight in the tale of a groggy detective, investigating a murder, who may be a villain as well as the hero. Chris Hewitt, Star Tribune, "7 movie remakes that are better than the originals," 28 Oct. 2020 Billy turns destructive, is the archetypal self-hating gay villain. Alex Ross, The New Yorker, "Pushed to the Edge by “Beau Travail”," 20 Oct. 2020 Meanwhile, nearly half the country will see him as a hero, as the other half treats him like a villain. John Loftus, National Review, "A Surreal Evening with Andrew Cuomo and Billy Crystal," 28 Oct. 2020 When given the chance, Ms. Fleming excelled as a sensual villain. Adam Bernstein, Washington Post, "Rhonda Fleming, femme fatale from Hollywood’s golden age, dies at 97," 17 Oct. 2020 Pattinson is taking on the role of the Caped Crusader and will be joined by Zoë Kravitz as Selina Kyle/Catwoman and John Turturro as the villain, Carmine Falcone. Glamour, "Robert Pattinson Is Batman: Everything We Know About His Upcoming Batman Movie," 16 Oct. 2020 Prolific modder of From Software games Lance McDonald, like that one villain with the nice jawline in that one Marvel movie, has looked deep within his heart, found a need there, and decided to take care of it himself. Julie Muncy, Wired, "Judge Says No to Putting Fortnite Back on Apple's App Store," 15 Oct. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'villain.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of villain

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 4

History and Etymology for villain

Middle English vilain, vilein, from Anglo-French, from Medieval Latin villanus, from Latin villa

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Time Traveler for villain

Time Traveler

The first known use of villain was in the 14th century

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Statistics for villain

Last Updated

25 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Villain.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Dec. 2020.

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More Definitions for villain


How to pronounce villain (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of villain

: a character in a story, movie, etc., who does bad things
somewhat old-fashioned : a person who does bad things
: someone or something that is blamed for a particular problem or difficulty


vil·​lain | \ ˈvi-lən How to pronounce villain (audio) \

Kids Definition of villain

1 : a wicked person
2 : a character in a story or play who opposes the hero or heroine

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