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villein

[vil-uh n, -eyn, vi-leyn] /ˈvɪl ən, -eɪn, vɪˈleɪn/
noun
1.
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.
Origin
1275-1325
1275-1325; Middle English; see villain
Can be confused
villain, villein.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for villein

villein

/ˈvɪlən/
noun
1.
(in medieval Europe) a peasant personally bound to his lord, to whom he paid dues and services, sometimes commuted to rents, in return for his land
Word Origin
C14: from Old French vilein serf; see villain
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for villein
n.

early 14c., spelling variant of villain, referring to a feudal class of half-free peasants.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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10
14
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