50 Synonyms for “Villain”

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The store of synonyms for villain is so well stocked that it seems, well, villainous to employ that relatively colorless word in favor of many worthy substitutes — especially in humorous contexts. Here’s a roster of appropriate alternatives.

1. Baddie: a bad person, especially a villain or a villain’s underling in a novel, a film, or a television program (usually lighthearted)
2. Beast: a reprehensible person, especially one with coarse, violent habits
3. Black sheep: an amoral, dishonorable person
3. Blackguard: a reprehensible person
4. Brute: a violent person
5. Bully: a violent person, especially one who intimidates or hurts weaker people
6. Cad: a thoughtless, uncaring man
7. Caitiff: a coward or a reprehensible person
8. Cutthroat: a vicious person
9. Dastard: a coward, or a deceitful or treacherous person
10. Desperado: a criminal, especially in the Old West
11. Devil: an evil person
12. Evildoer: a person who commits evil acts
13. Fiend: a malicious or wicked person; alternatively, an addict, a fanatic, or a person extraordinary talented at something
14. Fink: a reprehensible person (lighthearted)
15. Goon: a man who intimidates, injures, or kills in the service of another
16. Heavy: see baddie (more serious in connotation than its close synonym)
17. Heel: a reprehensible person
18. Henchman: a subordinate to a villain; alternatively, a right-hand man
19. Hoodlum: see bully
20. Hooligan: see bully
21. Hound: a reprehensible person; alternatively, an avid collector or searcher
22. Knave: a deceitful person
23. Malefactor: one who treats another person poorly or commits a crime
24. Meanie: an unkind person (lighthearted)
25. Miscreant: a criminal or a violent person; alternatively, a heretic
26. Monster: an extremely wicked person; alternatively, a cruel or deformed person
27. Ne’er-do-well: a worthless person
28. Outlaw: a fugitive from justice
29. Rapscallion: a dishonest or mean-spirited person; also, a mischievous person (often lighthearted, as are most of its close synonyms)
30. Rascal: see rapscallion
31. Reprobate: a depraved person
32. Rogue: a dishonest or reprehensible person; also, a mischievous person, or a vagrant
33. Rough: a violent person
34. Rowdy: see rough
35. Ruffian: see bully
36. Savage: see brute
37. Scalawag: see rapscallion
38. Scamp: see rapscallion
39. Scapegrace: see rapscallion
40. Scofflaw: a person who flouts laws
41. Scoundrel: see rapscallion
42. Serpent: a treacherous person
43. Shark: a devious person
44. Snake: see serpent
45. Thug: a violent person, often in the employ of another
46. Tough: see rough
47. Varlet: see knave
48. Villainness: a female villain
49. Viper: see serpent
50. Wretch: a reprehensible person; alternatively, a miserable person

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5 thoughts on “50 Synonyms for “Villain””

  1. I thought “black sheep” was just sort of someone different in a kind of embarrassing or unusual way, not necessarily amoral or dishonorable. In fact, I call myself the “white sheep” in my family because my family (which is small, lucky for y’all) is so annoying and weird, and I consider myself the only normal one LOL. But they’re not really amoral or dishonorable, just…dolts!

  2. Thanks for this list, Mark.

    I would have thought a ‘shark’ was less a ‘devious’ person than a ‘rapacious’ one – a “loan shark” is one who “takes a big bite” out of one’s earnings, and a “land shark” is one who “gobbles up” available property.

  3. I agree with bluebird on “black sheep,” I’ve never heard it used as a synonym for “villain” before.
    Love the list though! “Blackguard” is one of my favorites.

  4. “Ne’er-do-well: a worthless person”

    A “ne’er-do-well” is not necessarily a villain at all, but rather a “ne’er-do-well” can simply be a lazy donkey of a person.

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