A villain is a bad person — real or made up. In books, movies, current events, or history, the villain is the character who does mean, evil things on purpose.

Today a villain is a wicked person, whether in fact or fiction. In the 1300s, villain described a low-born rustic. It came from the Medieval Latin word villanus, or farmhand. Just why a word would evolve from meaning farmer into evildoer is a little mysterious, although it probably has to do with farmers not being chivalrous, like the knights who were so admired in those days.

Definitions of villain

n a wicked or evil person; someone who does evil deliberately

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blackguard, bounder, cad, dog, heel, hound
someone who is morally reprehensible
gallows bird
a person who deserves to be hanged
knave, rapscallion, rascal, rogue, scalawag, scallywag, varlet
a deceitful and unreliable scoundrel
a woman villain
Type of:
persona non grata, unwelcome person
a person who for some reason is not wanted or welcome

n the principal bad character in a film or work of fiction

Type of:
character, part, persona, role, theatrical role
an actor's portrayal of someone in a play

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