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

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Synonyms & Antonyms for villainy



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Examples of villainy in a Sentence

a story of villainy and betrayal the gruesome villainies of war
Recent Examples on the Web The bounty hunter is there, there’s a general hive of scum and villainy vibe. Angela Watercutter, Wired, "ILM Used Fortnite Tech to Make The Mandalorian’s Virtual Sets," 20 Feb. 2020 That’s a lot for a movie that on the surface plays like a special episode of an '80s sitcom where the lovable gang goes to Europe with a healthy dose of Marvel villainy. Borys Kit, The Hollywood Reporter, "Heat Vision's Top 10 Movies of 2019," 31 Dec. 2019 The central figure of villainy in the film is Moses Randolph (Alec Baldwin), an imperious tycoon and the head of several city-planning departments who is quite obviously inspired by the real-life New York figure of infamy Robert Moses. David Sims, The Atlantic, "Motherless Brooklyn Is a Passion Project Without Heart," 31 Oct. 2019 The series garnered critical acclaim for its searing alternate-reality exploration of race and criminal justice (and superheroes and space villainy). Ellen Mcgirt, Fortune, "Rep. Ayanna Pressley, bald and beautiful, discusses life with alopecia," 18 Jan. 2020 Having earned some praise for her performance in Arteta's Beatriz at Dinner, Hayek is a letdown here, steered toward broad villainy and cartoonish physicality that exist in a world apart from the credible sharpness of her co-stars. John Defore, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Like a Boss': Film Review," 9 Jan. 2020 Those like Mahishasura and Ravana crossed the Rubicon into eternal villainy ages ago. Harish Pullanoor, Quartz India, "We, the permanent villains of Indian mythology, must reclaim our fallen icons," 30 Dec. 2019 As the conscience of the piece, Jermaine Rowe does not have access to the same quick-costume-change freshness, bright expressions and gleeful villainy of the other three cast members. Christopher Arnott,, "Review: ‘Mlima’s Tale’ at Westport Playhouse a riveting indictment of the elephant ivory trade," 7 Oct. 2019 Even the monstrous Caesar evokes our compassion, thanks to the genius of Wilson, who reduces no one to obvious villainy — or, conversely, to tin-plaster saintliness. Los Angeles Times, "Review: A dazzling revival of August Wilson’s ‘Gem of the Ocean’ at A Noise Within in Pasadena," 4 Oct. 2019

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.

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First Known Use of villainy

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for villainy

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

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Statistics for villainy

Last Updated

24 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Villainy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for villainy


How to pronounce villainy (audio)

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on villainy

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Spanish Central: Translation of villainy

Nglish: Translation of villainy for Spanish Speakers

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