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
4 : villein
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

Now, the villains are essentially a pair of evil Twitch streamers. Adi Robertson, The Verge, "Borderlands 3 has a billion guns, and its most dangerous weapon is vlogging," 14 Aug. 2019 The arch-villain is Brixton (Idris Elba, radiating menace and charisma), a former colleague of Shaw’s who has been augmented with cyber-technology that renders him a modern-day Terminator. Globe Staff,, "Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham’s ‘Hobbs & Shaw’ is brainless, but it’s a fun summer movie," 31 July 2019 The other big Black Widow Comic-Con revelation was the news that the villain would be Taskmaster, who first appeared in 1980's The Avengers No. 195. Graeme Mcmillan, The Hollywood Reporter, "Scarlett Johansson Was Unsure Marvel Would Make 'Black Widow' Her Way," 23 July 2019 Steve Rogers may be gone, but his villains are not. Christian Holub,, "The Falcon and the Winter Soldier," 21 July 2019 The Demogorgon Season 1's major villain was the Demogorgon. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "Stranger Things 3 Features the Show's Worst Monster Yet," 4 July 2019 One of the tensions within both these movies is that the villains in them are, on some level, right. Emily Todd Vanderwerff, Vox, "Spider-Man: Far From Home turns a class-conscious hero into a tech bro," 3 July 2019 Specifically, that villain is Purdue Pharma, the creator of OxyContin. Alex Pareene, The New Republic, "In search of the Democratic Party's fighting spirit," 20 June 2019 Victims of crimes are invisible and voiceless, and the villain now is the criminal justice system. Heather Nolan,, "Could New Orleans end money bail? Advocates say tools are in place to do so," 19 June 2019

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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Statistics for villain

Last Updated

5 Sep 2019

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Time Traveler for villain

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

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More Definitions for villain



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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More from Merriam-Webster on villain

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with villain

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for villain

Spanish Central: Translation of villain

Nglish: Translation of villain for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of villain for Arabic Speakers

Comments on villain

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recurring in steady succession

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