|1.||a wicked or malevolent person|
|2.||(in a novel, play, film, etc) the main evil character and antagonist to the hero|
|3.||jocular often a mischievous person; rogue|
|4.||slang (Brit) a criminal|
|5.||history a variant spelling of villein|
|6.||obsolete an uncouth person; boor|
|[C14: from Old French vilein serf, from Late Latin vīllānus worker on a country estate, from Latin: |
"The most important phases of the sense development of this word may be summed up as follows: 'inhabitant of a farm; peasant; churl, boor; clown; miser; knave, scoundrel.' Today both Fr. vilain and Eng. villain are used only in a pejorative sense." [Klein]Meaning "character in a novel, play, etc. whose evil motives or actions help drive the plot" is from 1822.