vil·​lainy | \ ˈvi-lə-nē How to pronounce villainy (audio) \
plural villainies

Definition of villainy

1 : villainous conduct also : a villainous act
2 : the quality or state of being villainous : depravity

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms & Antonyms for villainy


bad, evil, evildoing, ill, immorality, iniquity, sin, wrong


good, morality, right, virtue

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of villainy in a Sentence

a story of villainy and betrayal the gruesome villainies of war

Recent Examples on the Web

What's more, with a core friendship established by the source film, this sequel takes some really killer risks (at least, for a family-friendly cartoon) in exploring friendship and villainy in ways that viewers likely won't see coming. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "Wreck-It Ralph 2 review: Everything we wish Ready Player One had been," 21 Nov. 2018 And in this interview with Entertainment Weekly, showrunner and creator Noah Hawley seems interested less in the idea of David’s villainy than in him as a sort of supervillain Walter White. Todd Vanderwerff, Vox, "How Legion’s season 2 finale exposed the emptiness at the show’s core," 17 June 2018 With so much villainy, what is the show saying about a president who empowers women while underhandedly controlling them? Lonnie Firestone, Glamour, "House of Cards' Final Season Is About Women Gaining Power—at the Expense of Other Women," 10 Nov. 2018 And that partner, Philipp Vossberg, is villainy personified. John Anderson, WSJ, "‘Beat’ Review: Justice on the Dance Floor," 8 Nov. 2018 Roughly half of the film is eaten up by Drake's cheeseball villainy and Brock's tater-tot-chomping, woman-hating descent into loserdom—and Venom spends too much time setting these characters up without giving us a logical hook to hang them on. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "Venom film review: Stupid, but still good enough to bite your head off," 5 Oct. 2018 Sorrento’s villainy sets up a battle on two fronts — clashes in the Oasis mirroring chases through the streets of Columbus — that inspires Mr. Spielberg to feats of crosscutting virtuosity. A. O. Scott, New York Times, "Review: In ‘Ready Player One,’ Spielberg Plays the Nostalgia Game," 28 Mar. 2018 But for every clever element, there's another that feels strange or over-the-top, such as the female casting director who for sheer villainy would give Cruella de Vil a run for her money. Frank Scheck, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Los Angeles Overnight': Film Review," 9 Mar. 2018 WorryFree reads as cartoonish, but the heart of its villainy—anti-unionism in favor of efficiency, selling regardless of the client’s morality, innovating without weighing the costs—is strikingly recognizable. Joseph Bien-kahn, WIRED, "Radical As Ever, Boots Riley Takes On the Tech Boom," 4 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'villainy.' 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 villainy

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about villainy

Statistics for villainy

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for villainy

The first known use of villainy was in the 13th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for villainy



English Language Learners Definition of villainy

formal : evil behavior or actions


vil·​lainy | \ ˈvi-lə-nē How to pronounce villainy (audio) \
plural villainies

Kids Definition of villainy

: bad or evil behavior or actions

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on villainy

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for villainy

Spanish Central: Translation of villainy

Nglish: Translation of villainy for Spanish Speakers

Comments on villainy

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


showing courage and determination

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Word Winder's CrossWinder

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!