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 And the Flag Smashers themselves definitely seem on the more morally complex end of the MCU villainy spectrum, along with Zemo himself and Erik Killmonger. Alan Sepinwall, Rolling Stone, "‘The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’ Recap: Two (Butting) Heads Are Better Than One," 26 Mar. 2021 Both roles showcased O’Hare’s ability to evince villainy, cut with something more disarmingly human. Nate Jones, Vulture, "The 32 Greatest Character Actors Working Today," 21 Nov. 2020 Blackness wasn’t essential to his villainy, and the idea that a great villain could just happen to be Black without being a stereotype seemed like a step forward. al, "Why Green Lantern’s ‘Far Sector’ rings true in Alabama," 26 Feb. 2021 Fonda embraced the almost cartoonish villainy of the character, winking at the audience the whole way, and elevating the film. Maureen Lee Lenker,, "Jane Fonda's best 20 performances," 23 Feb. 2021 Burstyn is so convincing as a confident matron who can't understand why everyone doesn't agree with her that her villainy feels sympathetic. Chris Hewitt, Star Tribune, "Great performances bring truth to otherwise phony 'Pieces of a Woman'," 8 Jan. 2021 The widespread white villainy in the plays either did not register with Wilson’s white admirers or did not trouble them. Jake Lamar, The New Republic, "August Wilson’s Uncompromising Vision for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom," 14 Jan. 2021 Come, come, our Empress, with her sacred wit, to villainy and vengeance consecrate. Washington Post, "Style Invitational Week 1419: Send us the bill — our ‘joint legislation’ contest," 14 Jan. 2021 Many big-budget games need a renewable source of villainy, and hell or a hell-analogue is an easy answer for that. Joshua Rivera, Wired, "Video Game Hell Isn’t Nearly Agonizing Enough," 22 Dec. 2020

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

3 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Villainy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Apr. 2021.

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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

More from Merriam-Webster on villainy

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for villainy

Nglish: Translation of villainy for Spanish Speakers

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