villein
Villain Vil"lain, n. [OE. vilein, F. vilain, LL. villanus, from villa a village, L. villa a farm. See {Villa}.] [1913 Webster] 1. (Feudal Law) One who holds lands by a base, or servile, tenure, or in villenage; a feudal tenant of the lowest class, a bondman or servant. [In this sense written also {villan}, and {villein}.] [1913 Webster]

If any of my ansectors was a tenant, and a servant, and held his lands as a villain to his lord, his posterity also must do so, though accidentally they become noble. --Jer. Taylor. [1913 Webster]

Note: Villains were of two sorts; villains regardant, that is, annexed to the manor (LL. adscripti gleb[ae]); and villains in gross, that is, annexed to the person of their lord, and transferable from one to another. --Blackstone. [1913 Webster]

2. A baseborn or clownish person; a boor. [R.] [1913 Webster]

Pour the blood of the villain in one basin, and the blood of the gentleman in another, what difference shall there be proved? --Becon. [1913 Webster]

3. A vile, wicked person; a man extremely depraved, and capable or guilty of great crimes; a deliberate scoundrel; a knave; a rascal; a scamp. [1913 Webster]

Like a villain with a smiling cheek. --Shak. [1913 Webster]

Calm, thinking villains, whom no faith could fix. --Pope. [1913 Webster]


The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Villein — Vil lein, n. (Feudal Law) See {Villain}, 1. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • villein — early 14c., spelling variant of VILLAIN (Cf. villain), referring to a feudal class of half free peasants …   Etymology dictionary

  • villein — [vil′ən] n. [ME: see VILLAIN] any of a class of feudal serfs who by the 13th cent. had become freemen in their legal relations to all except their lord, to whom they remained subject as slaves …   English World dictionary

  • Villein — The wealthiest class of peasant. They usually cultivate 20 40 Acres of land, often in isolated strips. A bondsman, a man bonded to the land that he worked. Villeins lived in villages, attached to a lord’s holdings, all but a slave. A lord who… …   Medieval glossary

  • villein — UK [ˈvɪlən] / US / UK [ˈvɪleɪn] / US [vɪˈleɪn] noun [countable] Word forms villein : singular villein plural villeins a poor farm worker in the Middle Ages who was forced to work on the land of a very powerful person …   English dictionary

  • villein — villain, villein The two spellings are forms of a single word with two branches, originally meaning either ‘a low born rustic’ or ‘a serf in the feudal system’ and derived from the Latin word villa meaning ‘country house or farm’. The spelling… …   Modern English usage

  • Villein —    A man bonded to the land that he worked. Living in villages attached to a lord s holdings, they were virtual slaves and almost never given their freedom. The lord could do anything he wanted with them, except mutilate or kill them. Villeins… …   The writer's dictionary of science fiction, fantasy, horror and mythology

  • villein — noun Etymology: Middle English vilain, vilein more at villain Date: 14th century 1. a free common villager or village peasant of any of the feudal classes lower in rank than the thane 2. a free peasant of a feudal class higher in rank than a… …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • villein — /vil euhn, ayn, vi layn /, n. a member of a class of partially free persons under the feudal system, who were serfs with respect to their lord but had the rights and privileges of freemen with respect to others. Also, villain. [1275 1325; ME; see …   Universalium

  • villein — noun /ˈvɪlən,ˈvɪleɪn/ A feudal tenant …   Wiktionary

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”