villain

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
  1. noun
    a wicked or evil person; someone who does evil deliberately
    synonyms: scoundrel
    see moresee less
    types:
    show 5 types...
    hide 5 types...
    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
    villainess
    a woman villain
    perisher
    bounder
    type of:
    persona non grata, unwelcome person
    a person who for some reason is not wanted or welcome
  2. noun
    the principal bad character in a film or work of fiction
    synonyms: baddie
    see moresee less
    type of:
    character, part, persona, role, theatrical role
    an actor's portrayal of someone in a play
Word Family