vil·​lain·​ous | \ ˈvi-lə-nəs How to pronounce villainous (audio) \

Definition of villainous

1a : befitting a villain (as in evil or depraved character) a villainous attack
b : being or having the character of a villain : depraved the villainous foe
2 : highly objectionable : wretched

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Other Words from villainous

villainously adverb
villainousness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for villainous

vicious, villainous, iniquitous, nefarious, corrupt, degenerate mean highly reprehensible or offensive in character, nature, or conduct. vicious may directly oppose virtuous in implying moral depravity, or may connote malignancy, cruelty, or destructive violence. a vicious gangster villainous applies to any evil, depraved, or vile conduct or characteristic. a villainous assault iniquitous implies absence of all signs of justice or fairness. an iniquitous system of taxation nefarious suggests flagrant breaching of time-honored laws and traditions of conduct. the nefarious rackets of organized crime corrupt stresses a loss of moral integrity or probity causing betrayal of principle or sworn obligations. city hall was rife with corrupt politicians degenerate suggests having sunk to an especially vicious or enervated condition. a degenerate regime propped up by foreign powers

Examples of villainous in a Sentence

villainous behavior that made him one of the most notorious figures in history and gave rise to the legend of Dracula
Recent Examples on the Web Woody Harrelson’s onboard as villainous fellow symbiote host Cletus Kasady, and performance-capture master Andy Serkis is directing, because why not. Alison Willmore, Vulture, "65 Movies We Can’t Wait to See in 2021," 5 Jan. 2021 Among them: How can the villainous but conflicted Carcer Dun ( Samuel Adewunmi ) still be alive, when Vimes saw his old friend-cum-foe fall to his death 20 years before? John Anderson, WSJ, "‘The Watch’ Review: Making Fantasy Fun," 29 Dec. 2020 Hudgens plays both characters in the madcap festive rom-com, along with the new, villainous Fiona. Ariana Romero,, "You Have 7 New Netflix Treats To Binge This Weekend — Here’s What’s Worth Watching," 20 Nov. 2020 The campaigns cover a range of tools, including social media programs and cartoons for children featuring rabbits in military hats foiling the plots of a villainous bald eagle. Peter Aitken, Fox News, "China utilizes new, 'sophisticated' methods to revive patriotic education: report," 1 Jan. 2021 Four-time Emmy nominee Giancarlo Esposito made his return to The Mandalorian last week as the villainous Moff Gideon. James Hibberd,, "The Mandalorian: Giancarlo Esposito discusses the second half of season 2," 24 Nov. 2020 The Grinch Stole Christmas stars Jim Carrey as a villainous green ball of hair; Elf has Will Ferrell as a hopelessly naive, elf-identifying human in a pointy hat and tights. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "How Netflix Took the Christmas Movie to Its Logical, Campy Conclusion," 15 Dec. 2020 In those comics, the story is told again and again of a world coming undone because of villainous evil or human frailty. David Beers, The New Republic, "Selling the American Space Dream," 7 Dec. 2020 This leads Bond to Cuba and onto the trail of Rami Malek’s mysterious and villainous Safin. Clark Collis,, "No Time to Die star Lashana Lynch faced 'attacks' and 'abuse' over 007 role," 5 Nov. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'villainous.' 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 villainous

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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Time Traveler for villainous

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

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Statistics for villainous

Last Updated

20 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Villainous.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for villainous


How to pronounce villainous (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of villainous

: very bad or evil


vil·​lain·​ous | \ ˈvi-lə-nəs How to pronounce villainous (audio) \

Kids Definition of villainous

More from Merriam-Webster on villainous

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for villainous

Nglish: Translation of villainous for Spanish Speakers

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