vil·​lain | \ ˈvi-lən \

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
4 : villein
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

The Poplar Bluff student who dressed as a Klansman Friday was playing the villain in a skit about voter suppression during a presentation with other students about the 15th Amendment, Poplar Bluff district superintendent Scott Dill said. Heather Hollingsworth, The Seattle Times, "Missouri teacher suspended after student dresses as Klansman," 13 Nov. 2018 Though Jack fans might paint him as a villain, showrunner Isaac Aptaker told Cinemablend that there are no evil surprises in terms of showcasing Rebecca's ex. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "'This Is Us' Fans Learned So Much About Season 3's Mystery Man Alan Last Night," 10 Oct. 2018 Star Wars fans are speculating that Smith might play a villain working for the Empire-like First Order because of his English accent, but that's far from conclusive—the trilogy's chief protagonist, Daisy Ridley, also has an English accent. Samuel Axon, Ars Technica, "Star Wars: Episode IX," 29 Aug. 2018 Malin Akerman and Jake Lacy are a pair of hilarious villains, the sneeringly evil sibling corporate bigwigs. Katie Walsh, idahostatesman, "‘Rampage’ is big, dumb fun | Idaho Statesman," 12 Apr. 2018 There’s a very honourable tradition of British actors playing villains in Hollywood movies. Thomas Barrie, A-LIST, "Mark Strong on Deep State: “Some people believe in the idea of a benign despot”," 9 Apr. 2018 The original 2012 Wreck-It Ralph was a revelation for Disney films — a fleet, funny, but emotional movie that took its audience inside the world of video games, and focused on a game villain, Ralph, who wanted to be seen as a hero. Tasha Robinson, The Verge, "Ralph Breaks the Internet’s directors say the Gord character came from a weird, bad joke," 6 Dec. 2018 But the film’s fascist villain, played by Donald Sutherland, is portrayed as the neorealist director Roberto Rosselini would have done it, in black and white. Lee Siegel, WSJ, "Bertolucci’s Obsessions," 30 Nov. 2018 Lee is the brain behind hundreds of these characters, many of whom are amazing heroines—and villains, too. Jill Robi, Glamour, "Stan Lee Leaves Behind a Legacy of Powerful Female Characters," 13 Nov. 2018

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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Statistics for villain

Last Updated

10 Jan 2019

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Time Traveler for villain

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

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More Definitions for villain



English Language Learners Definition of villain

: a character in a story, movie, etc., who does bad things

: a person who does bad things

: someone or something that is blamed for a particular problem or difficulty


vil·​lain | \ ˈvi-lən \

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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More from Merriam-Webster on villain

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with villain

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for villain

Spanish Central: Translation of villain

Nglish: Translation of villain for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of villain for Arabic Speakers

Comments on villain

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tremendous in size, volume, or degree

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