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also vil·lain·age  (vĭl′ə-nĭj)
1. The legal status or condition of a villein.
2. The legal tenure by which a villein held land.


(ˈvɪlənɪdʒ) ,






(in medieval Europe) n
1. (Historical Terms) the status and condition of a villein
2. (Historical Terms) the tenure by which a villein held his land


or vil•len•age

(ˈvɪl ə nɪdʒ)

1. the tenure by which a villein held land from a lord.
2. the condition or status of a villein.
[1275–1325; Middle English < Anglo-French, Old French]


the type of tenure under which a villein held his land. Also called villanage.
See also: Property and Ownership
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.villeinage - the legal status or condition of servitude of a villein or feudal serf
legal status - a status defined by law
servitude - state of subjection to an owner or master or forced labor imposed as punishment; "penal servitude"
2.villeinage - tenure by which a villein held land
land tenure, tenure - the right to hold property; part of an ancient hierarchical system of holding lands


also villainage
A state of subjugation to an owner or master:
References in periodicals archive ?
While it is true that villeinage was still present in the sixteenth century, the institution of slavery had largely disappeared in England.
Though the opening part concerning the decline of servitude has been thoroughly researched in past scholarship, Bailey offers many new components: a reconsideration of the decline of serfdom during some hundred and fifty years after the Black Death, an exploration of the relationship between customary land values and the decline of villeinage, and an examination of how different types of land tenure emerged out of serfdom and formed England's subsequent economic development.
The social universe of the English Bible was re-drawn to populate the Bible with English-style household servants, ubiquitously indispensable in sixteenth-and seventeenth-century England, whereas medieval villeinage was by then extinct.
Michael Guasco considers the varieties of enslavement in English society (villeinage, penal slavery, and gallery slavery) and their impact on new world ideologies and the adoption of African slavery.