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 This being the 1980s, Diana is operating in a Cold War scenario, taking on Pedro Pascal's villainous Maxwell Lord, a shrewd and powerful businessman. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Diana Prince reunites with her long-lost love in first Wonder Woman 1984 trailer," 8 Dec. 2019 But the greatest act of villainous, hypocritical cowardice this past week didn’t come from the NBA. Isaac Stone Fish, Twin Cities, "Isaac Stone Fish: How China gets American companies to parrot its propaganda," 14 Oct. 2019 Swinney has his opinion about what college sports should be, some parts better researched than others, none of it villainous. Los Angeles Times, "Dabo Swinney makes $9.3 million a year but doesn’t think players should be paid. Why?," 4 Oct. 2019 Then came news of Ratched, a show inspired by the villainous nurse in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest; filming for that one started earlier this year. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "What to Know About Hollywood, Ryan Murphy's New Netflix Show Starring Darren Criss," 27 Sep. 2019 For all the male introspection, though, our movies still love heroic and villainous men, spirited and supportive ladies — the majority white — along with simple moralizing and tidy, exultant endings. Manohla Dargis, New York Times, "Men Are in Trouble and Hollywood Wants to Help," 20 Dec. 2019 Alarming, yes; villainous, perhaps; but familiar, legible. Christine Smallwood, The New Yorker, "Astrology in the Age of Uncertainty," 21 Oct. 2019 If this were a movie, my daughter would be the villainous shapeshifting creature that only dogs can detect. Christopher Elliott, USA TODAY, "Everything you need to know about travel with animals (and kids)," 16 June 2019 After Foxx turns on the light, he is then attacked by the film's villainous creatures. Lexy Perez, The Hollywood Reporter, "MTV Movie & TV Awards: Host Tiffany Haddish's Most Memorable Moments," 18 June 2018

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

12 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Villainous.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 25 January 2020.

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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

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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).


dull or mediocre

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