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Related to Villeins: Serfs, Villains


also vil·lain  (vĭl′ən, -ān′, vĭ-lān′)
One of a class of feudal serfs who held the legal status of freemen in their dealings with all people except their lord.

[Middle English vilein; see villain.]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


(ˈvɪlən) or


(Historical Terms) (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
[C14: from Old French vilein serf; see villain]
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


(ˈvɪl ən, -eɪn, vɪˈleɪn)

(in the feudal system) a member of a class of persons who were serfs with respect to their lord but had the rights of freemen with respect to others.
[1275–1325; see villain]
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.villein - (Middle Ages) a person who is bound to the land and owned by the feudal lordvillein - (Middle Ages) a person who is bound to the land and owned by the feudal lord
Europe - the 2nd smallest continent (actually a vast peninsula of Eurasia); the British use `Europe' to refer to all of the continent except the British Isles
cottier, cotter - a medieval English villein
thrall - someone held in bondage
Dark Ages, Middle Ages - the period of history between classical antiquity and the Italian Renaissance
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.


[ˈvɪlɪn] N (Hist) → villano/a m/f
Collins Spanish Dictionary - Complete and Unabridged 8th Edition 2005 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1971, 1988 © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2005


n (Hist) → Leibeigene(r) mf
Collins German Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged 7th Edition 2005. © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1980 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1997, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2007
References in classic literature ?
For that matter, the professional men and the artists are at this present moment villeins in everything but name, while the politicians are henchmen.
"I spoke of the professional men and the artists as villeins. What else are they?
The four on this side are all workers, three of them in the service of the bailiff of Sir Baldwin Redvers, and the other, he with the sheepskin, is, as I hear, a villein from the midlands who hath run from his master.
Villeins and commoners did not sit in judgment of their betters.
Kipling describes the men as standing "in hierarchical order," and, exulting in his personal hoard of English words, he draws vocabulary items from a time earlier than his own Victorian period to speak of "feudal and prognathous Villeins" and "adscript serfs, holding the reversion of a scraped marrow-bone." With a happy question, "Aren't these beautiful words?" he even refers to "heriot," a word presumably acquired from fairly close study of the literature of his heroic, but long dead, Anglo-Saxon ancestors (135).
Life was hard for ordinary villeins and serfs in centuries past so they believed magic might ease their daily woes or inflict revenge upon enemies.
Peter ad Vincula, of which this is the feast, would have been required to bring a live lamb to the church For many villeins, the wheat must have run low in the days before Lammas, and the new harvest began a season of plenty, of hard work and company in the fields, reaping in teams.[Thus there was a spirit of celebratory play.
"We meet with many very singular analogies between the history of negroes in South America, and that of the villeins or bondsmen of Europe, in earlier feudal times," Brougham asserts.
For centuries, restrictions on exit have been associated with oppression and privation, (2) exemplified by the ties that bound Ptolemaic peasants or English villeins to their land, (3) the English Poor Laws, (4) and the odious Fugitive Slave Acts.
Lee was notorious as a "great sheep-master" and for having profited by selling villeins their freedom.
The reality was the enormous gulf between the king and great lords at the top of the socio-economic pyramid and villeins and labourers at the bottom.
Clause 20 extended at least a part of this protection to merchants and villeins, adding the protection that in all cases amercements should only be fixed according to the testimony of reliable local men.