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: a free common villager or village peasant of any of the feudal classes lower in rank than the thane
: a free peasant of a feudal class higher in rank than a cotter
: an unfree peasant standing as the slave of a feudal lord but free in legal relations with respect to all others
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14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1
Middle English vilain, vilein — more at villain
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Resources for villein
From the Editors at Merriam-Webster
The History of the Word 'Villain'
Villains are scarier than they used to be
Time Traveler for villein
See more words from the same century
More from Merriam-Webster on villein
See words that rhyme with villein
Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about villein
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the setting in which something occurs
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