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5 definitions found
 for villein
From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48 :

  Villain \Vil"lain\, n. [OE. vilein, F. vilain, LL. villanus,
     from villa a village, L. villa a farm. See Villa.]
     [1913 Webster]
     1. (Feudal Law) One who holds lands by a base, or servile,
        tenure, or in villenage; a feudal tenant of the lowest
        class, a bondman or servant. [In this sense written also
        villan, and villein.]
        [1913 Webster]
              If any of my ansectors was a tenant, and a servant,
              and held his lands as a villain to his lord, his
              posterity also must do so, though accidentally they
              become noble.                         --Jer. Taylor.
        [1913 Webster]
     Note: Villains were of two sorts; villains regardant, that
           is, annexed to the manor (LL. adscripti glebae); and
           villains in gross, that is, annexed to the person of
           their lord, and transferable from one to another.
           [1913 Webster]
     2. A baseborn or clownish person; a boor. [R.]
        [1913 Webster]
              Pour the blood of the villain in one basin, and the
              blood of the gentleman in another, what difference
              shall there be proved?                --Becon.
        [1913 Webster]
     3. A vile, wicked person; a man extremely depraved, and
        capable or guilty of great crimes; a deliberate scoundrel;
        a knave; a rascal; a scamp.
        [1913 Webster]
              Like a villain with a smiling cheek.  --Shak.
        [1913 Webster]
              Calm, thinking villains, whom no faith could fix.
        [1913 Webster]

From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48 :

  Villein \Vil"lein\, n. (Feudal Law)
     See Villain, 1.
     [1913 Webster]

From WordNet (r) 3.0 (2006) :

      n 1: (Middle Ages) a person who is bound to the land and owned
           by the feudal lord [syn: serf, helot, villein]

From Moby Thesaurus II by Grady Ward, 1.0 :

  26 Moby Thesaurus words for "villein":
     bondmaid, bondman, bondslave, bondsman, bondswoman, captive,
     chattel, chattel slave, churl, concubine, debt slave, galley slave,
     helot, homager, liege, liege man, liege subject, odalisque, peon,
     serf, servant, slave, subject, theow, thrall, vassal

From Bouvier's Law Dictionary, Revised 6th Ed (1856) :

  VILLEIN, Eng. law. A species of slave during the feudal times.' 
       2. The feudal villein of the lowest order was unprotected as to 
  property, and subjected to the post ignoble services; but his circumstances 
  were very different from the slave of the southern states, for no person 
  was, in the eye of the law, a villein, except as to his master; in relation 
  to all other persons he was a freeman. Litt. Ten. s. 189, 190; Hallam's View 
  of the Middle Ages, vol. i. 122, 124; vol. ii. 199. 

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