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

When the villainous snow leopard Tai Lung threatens Po's homeland, the hapless panda is chosen to fulfil an ancient prophecy and defend the Valley from attack. Houston Chronicle, "Outside the Megaplex: Here are the Houston arthouse movies showing July 5-11," 3 July 2019 Part of what allows abuse to continue is the ease of seeing it as someone else’s problem, someone else’s fault—perhaps that of the vaguely villainous men in some unnamed workplace. Lidija Haas, The New Republic, "Notes on Cancel Culture," 1 July 2019 While Variety notes that the deal has not yet been completed, the news has taken social media by storm — and not everyone is excited, particularly fans who have been pulling for Lizzo to portray the villainous sea witch. De Elizabeth, Teen Vogue, "Melissa McCarthy Reportedly in Talks to Play Ursula in "The Little Mermaid," Lizzo Responds," 29 June 2019 And how better to show the passing of time, the evolution into a complex, possibly villainous character than to add a fun accessory to one’s look? Vogue, "Leave Jake Gyllenhaal’s Gold Chain Alone," 27 June 2019 The British actress, who starred as Game of Thrones's villainous queen for eight seasons, recently opened up to The Guardian about her reservations with her character's ending. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Lena Headey Wanted a "Better Death" for Cersei on Game of Thrones," 19 June 2019 In an apt metaphor for kids fighting a generational war, Marvel’s Runaways battle their own villainous parents. Judy Berman, Time, "In HBO’s Bleak Gen Z Drama, Euphoria Is the Opposite of Happiness," 13 June 2019 The Night King’s Existential Crisis Vladimir Furdik, who played the villainous Night King, gets some screen time in the doc. Christian Allaire, Vogue, "Five Takeaways From Game of Thrones’s Making-Of Documentary, The Last Watch," 27 May 2019 Jack played the villainous young king, who was engaged to Sansa Stark (played by Sophie Turner) in the show's early seasons, and then actually retired from acting after his character's demise in Season 4. Kayleigh Roberts, Marie Claire, "Sophie Turner and Joe Jonas Pose for an "Awkward" Picture with Joffrey from 'Game of Thrones'," 6 Apr. 2019

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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Statistics for villainous

Last Updated

13 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for villainous

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

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More Definitions for villainous



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

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More from Merriam-Webster on villainous

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for villainous

Spanish Central: Translation of villainous

Nglish: Translation of villainous for Spanish Speakers

Comments on villainous

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


an act or instance of editing or removing

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