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 The new villain this season, played with a bone-chilling subtlety by Mulroney, is going to be a much different kind of foe for Hanna (and Marissa) to face. Sydney Bucksbaum,, "What you need to know before watching Hanna season 2," 1 July 2020 As Aaron Burr, the political rival who ultimately faced off with Hamilton in a deadly duel, Leslie Odom, Jr., is effortlessly charismatic and far more complex than the easily classifiable villain Burr might have been. oregonlive, "‘Hamilton’ on Disney Plus: The original Broadway cast soars in a thrilling show (review)," 1 July 2020 Scientists have discovered a new species of spider with a red-and-white pattern that is similar to the makeup worn by the infamous Batman villain, the Joker. Fox News, "Scientists discover 'Joker' spider," 29 June 2020 The Trump administration, of course, is the climate villain of the moment — rejecting international pacts, gutting national environmental protections and regulations, and sidelining and censoring its own climate researchers and scientists. Ishaan Tharoor, Washington Post, "The world’s climate catastrophe worsens amid the pandemic," 29 June 2020 The statehood effort found a new villain this week in Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton, who delivered a speech rehashing many of the tropes statehood opponents have trotted out over the years. Osita Nwanevu, The New Republic, "D.C. Statehood Is a Test of Biden’s Political Courage," 26 June 2020 The stream, which clocked in at a relatively brief 30 minutes, also revealed that MODOK is the primary villain. Hayden Dingman, PCWorld, "New Marvel's Avengers gameplay tease shows Thor hammering robots, supervillian MODOK," 24 June 2020 But money, long a frequent target of Stewart’s, is the real villain here. Bill Goodykoontz, azcentral, "Jon Stewart's sharp political satire 'Irresistible' dismantles how American elections work," 22 June 2020 The Bachelor always has a villain, even if none of the contestants are particularly villainous in real life. Lia Beck,, "The Bachelor Made Olivia Caridi A Villain — Now It’s Time To Admit She Didn’t Deserve It," 22 June 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

4 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Villain.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 Jul. 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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More from Merriam-Webster on villain

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for villain

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with villain

Spanish Central: Translation of villain

Nglish: Translation of villain for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of villain for Arabic Speakers

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