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
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

But the more negative aspects of Tony Stark’s legacy remain too: Gyllenhaal’s Beck reveals himself to be a jilted former employee of Tony Stark and turns out to be the primary villain of Far From Home. Eliana Dockterman, Time, "How Iron Man's Legacy — and BARF Technology — Plays a Major Role in Spider-Man: Far From Home," 2 July 2019 Such thinking has tried to make villains of India’s roughly 200 million Muslims and shrunk space for dissent. New York Times, "Under Modi, Hindus Find Hope for a Temple on Disputed Speck of Land," 1 July 2019 Chuck Todd predictably emerged as one of the villains of the first debate, derailing a decent policy discussion with a seemingly endless barrage of right-wing talking points. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, "The debate moderators are addicted to right-wing talking points.," 28 June 2019 Either way, Jake Gyllenhaal nails the role, making Mysterio one of the most human, complex and sympathetic villains of the saga. Joey Morona,, "Why ‘Spider-Man: Far From Home’ is the antidote for Marvel fatigue," 27 June 2019 The main villain of #MeToo has lost his company, reputation, wife and some hair. The Economist, "Harvey Weinstein’s trials," 22 June 2019 And Main Street gets fiery red, leading up to the final villains of the night. Dewayne Bevil,, "Disney World: Villains After Hours event spotlights the dark side," 11 June 2019 Jean paired with the Phoenix Force is widely regarded as one of the best X-Men villains of all time. Sydney Bucksbaum,, "Dark Phoenix," 8 June 2019 Cancer caught up to him before the villains of his own stories could, and soon the world’s mightiest heroes had to take a break. Janus Kwong, Seventeen, "How One Teen Used Writing to Connect with Her Dying Dad," 18 Mar. 2019

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

11 Jul 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
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

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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characterized by aphorism

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