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
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 Most, but not all, work for Strahd, the campaign’s principal villain. Matthew Gault, Wired, "Dungeons, Dragons, and Diversity," 31 Dec. 2020 The Child/Grogu’s adorableness, and the show’s arch-villain to this point, Moff Gideon, was revealed to be a paper tiger in the season-two finale. Isaac Schorr, National Review, "The Mandalorian’s Second Season Gives Star Wars Fans Their Fix," 26 Dec. 2020 The new movie’s villain, Maxwell Lord (played by Pedro Pascal), is a land-grabbing TV con man on the international grift — one who even pays a visit to the Oval Office — prompting some reviewers to compare him to Trump. Washington Post, "How Patty Jenkins turned ‘Wonder Woman 1984′ into a personal Washington story," 25 Dec. 2020 He's been called the greatest action movie villain in Hollywood history: Alan Rickman's Hans Gruber, the meticulous mastermind behind the Christmas Eve Nakatomi Tower heist in 1988's Die Hard. James Hibberd,, "10 times Alan Rickman was incredible in Die Hard," 24 Dec. 2020 How police turned a Black man into a villain to save themselves. Ashley Shaffer, USA TODAY, "What: $600 (for most). When? Next week (maybe).," 21 Dec. 2020 First up is that one of the group's chaperones has turned out to be a villain. Andrew A. Smith Tribune News Service, Star Tribune, "'The Walking Dead' shows keep stumbling, but we keep watching," 14 Dec. 2020 This was one of several moments that made viewers wonder if Peter was actually the villain of his own season: after all, having a romantic history or lack thereof does not preclude someone from potentially falling in love in the future. Lydia Wang,, "The First Bachelor Promo Gives Us A Premiere Date & A Big Break With Tradition," 17 Nov. 2020 In addition to being darker in tone, Snyder said that the character of Steppenwolf (Ciarán Hinds) has been redesigned and that Steppenwolf's uncle, Darkseid (Ray Porter), will be the main villain. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Zack Snyder drops B&W updated version of trailer for Justice League miniseries," 17 Nov. 2020

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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Time Traveler for villain

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for villain

Last Updated

18 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Villain.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for villain


How to pronounce villain (audio)

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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