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

Devious as Claire is, Sieh believes that female villains like her are still worth celebrating. Lonnie Firestone, Glamour, "House of Cards' Final Season Is About Women Gaining Power—at the Expense of Other Women," 10 Nov. 2018 October’s villain is especially despised at Fenway Park for planting his spikes into Dustin Pedroia in April 2017 . Ronald Blum, The Seattle Times, "Manny the Masher, Manny the Miscreant & Macho Manny," 23 Oct. 2018 Bullseye, a major villain from the Daredevil comic books, becomes a major figure this season. Alex Abad-santos, Vox, "Daredevil season 3 is a return to what made the show so good in season 1," 15 Oct. 2018 Waters has long been a hero to some Democrats and a villain to some Republicans - and her clashes with Trump have elevated her profile further. Author: Felicia Sonmez, Robert Costa, Anchorage Daily News, "Feud over civility in politics escalates amid Trump insults," 26 June 2018 Joaquin Phoenix will star as the Joker in an upcoming origin movie about the iconic villain and explained Thursday his feelings about working on a project with director Todd Phillips. Ryan Gaydos, Fox News, "Joaquin Phoenix terrified of starring in Joker origin film," 13 July 2018 Bushmaster, the primary villain, speaks in Jamaican Patois—a dialect that the captions seem determined to clean up and clarify. Ace Ratcliff, SELF, "I Rely On Closed Captions to Enjoy a Show And I Don't Appreciate Netflix's Way of Censoring Them," 10 July 2018 Hannah John-Kamen plays the villain Ghost in Ant-Man and the Wasp. Pamela Mcclintock, Billboard, "Box Office: 'Ant-Man and the Wasp' Soaring to $80M-Plus U.S. Debut," 7 July 2018 On the other hand, one ornithologist’s victim may be another’s villain. Lance Morrow, WSJ, "Political Harassment Is for the Birds," 6 July 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

14 Nov 2018

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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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Comments on villain

What made you want to look up villain? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


playful or foolish behavior

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