UK [ˈvɪlən] / US / UK [ˈvɪleɪn] / US [vɪˈleɪn] noun [countable]
Word forms "villein":
singular villein plural villeins
a poor farm worker in the Middle Ages who was forced to work on the land of a very powerful person

English dictionary. 2014.

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  • Villein — Vil lein, n. (Feudal Law) See {Villain}, 1. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • villein — early 14c., spelling variant of VILLAIN (Cf. villain), referring to a feudal class of half free peasants …   Etymology dictionary

  • villein — [vil′ən] n. [ME: see VILLAIN] any of a class of feudal serfs who by the 13th cent. had become freemen in their legal relations to all except their lord, to whom they remained subject as slaves …   English World dictionary

  • Villein — The wealthiest class of peasant. They usually cultivate 20 40 Acres of land, often in isolated strips. A bondsman, a man bonded to the land that he worked. Villeins lived in villages, attached to a lord’s holdings, all but a slave. A lord who… …   Medieval glossary

  • villein — villain, villein The two spellings are forms of a single word with two branches, originally meaning either ‘a low born rustic’ or ‘a serf in the feudal system’ and derived from the Latin word villa meaning ‘country house or farm’. The spelling… …   Modern English usage

  • Villein —    A man bonded to the land that he worked. Living in villages attached to a lord s holdings, they were virtual slaves and almost never given their freedom. The lord could do anything he wanted with them, except mutilate or kill them. Villeins… …   The writer's dictionary of science fiction, fantasy, horror and mythology

  • villein — 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 …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Villein (feudal) — Villein (or villain ) was the term used in the feudal era to denote a peasant (tenant farmer) who was legally tied to the land he worked on. An alternative term is serf (from Latin servus = slave ). A villein could not leave the land without the… …   Wikipedia

  • villein in gross — A villein at large; that is, a villein who was annexed to the person of the lord as a sort of body servant. He was transferable by deed from one owner to another, but had no connection with the soil. See 2 Bl Comm 93 …   Ballentine's law dictionary

  • villein socage — Socage Soc age, n.[From {Soc}; cf. LL. socagium.] (O.Eng. Law) A tenure of lands and tenements by a certain or determinate service; a tenure distinct from chivalry or knight s service, in which the obligations were uncertain. The service must be… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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