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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.]


(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]


(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]
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


[ˈvɪlɪn] N (Hist) → villano/a m/f


n (Hist) → Leibeigene(r) mf
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.
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.
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.
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.
Formerly a farm-worker, this woman-mountain was apparently a violated art-lover who became a bitter and venomous (aconital) bringer of retribution to enemies of the Cotsets, a long-detested Latin American criminal gang, named after a low class of early English villeins (peasants).
5) The original 1215 version of Magna Carta referred to the rights of a "freeman"; the 1354 statute removed the word "free-man," and replaced it with "No man of what estate or condition that he be," a generous expansion that included freemen, villeins, bordars, and cottars.
19) Although there is evidence that villeins could be manumitted.
These small bites do not refer only to the description of the villeins.
Not very progressive as regards the lower classes, the villeins who weren't "free men" and not progressive as regards women.