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The principal evil character in a play or story. The villain is usually the antagonist opposed to the hero (and/or heroine), but in some cases he may be the protagonist, as in Shakespeare's Richard III. The villains of English Elizabethan and Jacobean drama, especially in revenge tragedy, appear to be descended from the devils and the Vice in earlier morality plays. A more simplified villainous stock character appears in 19th-century melodrama, usually as a bewhiskered seducer. See also machiavel.

From:   villain   in  The Oxford Dictionary of Literary Terms »

Subjects: Literature

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date: 01 April 2024

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Definition of villain

  • baddy
  • meany
  • rapscallion
  • scallywag

Examples of villain in a Sentence

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'villain.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Middle English vilain, vilein , from Anglo-French, from Medieval Latin villanus , from Latin villa

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 4

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Dictionary Entries Near villain

Villahermosa

Cite this Entry

“Villain.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary , Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/villain. Accessed 1 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

Kids definition of villain, more from merriam-webster on villain.

Nglish: Translation of villain for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of villain for Arabic Speakers

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IMAGES

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COMMENTS

  1. Villain

    Quick Reference. The principal evil character in a play or story. The villain is usually the antagonist opposed to the hero (and/or heroine), but in some cases he may be the protagonist, as in Shakespeare's Richard III. The villains of English Elizabethan and Jacobean drama, especially in revenge tragedy, appear to be descended from the devils ...

  2. Villain Definition & Meaning

    villain: [noun] a character in a story or play who opposes the hero.