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

Keep scrolling for more

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

That enriching yourself on the less fortunate is villainous. John Archibald |, al, "Virtues learned in the South," 18 Aug. 2019 And while Bella was visited by all sorts of supernatural forces, the new owners give no advice on combating, say, villainous, nomadic (yet hunky) vampire James. Bryan Alexander, USA TODAY, "Bella Swan's 'Twilight' home is now available for you to rent for $330 a night on Airbnb," 24 July 2019 And this time around the movie’s villainous, turbaned Jafar (Marwan Kenzari) is just as hunky as its Westernized hero, Aladdin (Mena Massoud). Lorraine Ali,, "From ‘Aladdin’ to Galaxy’s Edge, how Hollywood interprets Arab culture," 14 June 2019 Scott Coopwood as the close-to-villainous yet willfully capricious Captain is a force to be reckoned with. Joanne Engelhardt, The Mercury News, "Theater review: Lots of reasons to experience ‘Archduke’," 13 June 2019 Queen Latifah will play the villainous Ursula and Shaggy will play the crab Sebastian. Joe Otterson,, "‘Little Mermaid’ set as ABC live musical, Auli’i Cravalho to star," 5 Aug. 2019 McCarthy does mark one flaw — a confusing climax — with Hobbs and Shaw having not one but two end battles with Elba’s villainous Lorr. Sharareh Drury, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw': What the Critics Are Saying," 31 July 2019 Taylor Swift's boyfriend Joe Alwyn seems to be continuing in his streak of playing the most villainous characters imaginable (see: Operation Finale, Boy Erased), playing what appears to be a slave-owner on the hunt for Tubman. Anne Cohen,, "Cynthia Erivo Is Ready For Her Oscar In The Harriet Tubman Biopic Trailer," 25 July 2019 The cast is rounded out by Juan Castro as happy-go-lucky Lord Pinkleton and a too-frequently frowning Vic Prosak as the Prince’s right-hand man and villainous prime minister, Sebastian. Joanne Engelhardt, The Mercury News, "Theater review: ‘Cinderella’ gets a make-over worth seeing," 25 July 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.

See More

First Known Use of villainous

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about villainous

Statistics for villainous

Last Updated

7 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for villainous

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


to make a temporary encampment

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Musical Words Quiz

  • gramophone
  • Which word describes a musical performance marked by the absence of instrumental accompaniment?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!