Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.

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.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
References in periodicals archive ?
A lord acquiring land in the Marches might relocate his landless villeins hundreds of miles from their original home.
It was a common practice (and very likely a legal prerequisite) in transactions in which a villein was one of the parties to denote his master's permission to draw up that contract.
Lee was notorious as a "great sheep-master" and for having profited by selling villeins their freedom.
and a villein [an unfree man] is to be amerced in the same manner, saving to him his growing crops"--thus protecting even serfs.
Everyone lies, from villein to tsar, passing through the priest, in a civil disorder, aspiring to the "Grace universe" and makes the people believe themselves "one with the gods".
Challenging the historiography of late medieval England, Professor Bailey argues that, although unpleasant, serfdom was not as terrible as previously depicted or believed: it owas not economically disadvantageous to serfs, nor did it provide landlords with a legal weapon with which to exploit and to extort them systemically or arbitrarily.o Circa 1300, about half of the majority, who were rural dwellers, were termed servile, villein, or unfreeuall descriptions of peasants who were in bondage to a lord or a particular piece of land (a hereditary situation).
Where do they come from and where they born in the society incurably sick of the complex of inferiority, keeping in the bowels a villein's self-destruction virus?!
To call Iago a slave is to represent his behavior as slavish; that is to say, his machinations expose him as villainous both in the sense that he is of a lower class--a villein or villain--and in the sense that he is evil.
Participants providing the crucially important perspective of regulatory bodies will include Carlos Andres RebellEn VillEin, Executive Director, Colombian Communications Regulation Commission; Hessa Sultan Al-Jaber, Secretary-General, ictQATAR; Eugene Juwah, CEO, Nigerian Communication Commission; Abdullah Al-Darrab, Governor, Communication and Information Technology Commission,Saudi Arabia; and Alan Horne, Telecommunications Regulator,Vanuatu.
93-96 (<<The possibility that one could find Christians called Muhammad living besides Muslims with Greek names serves to compound our inability to distinguish Arab-Christians from Arab-Muslims in the villein registers>>, p.
According to seventeenth century English jurist Edward Coke, "If a villein [bondsman] taketh a free woman to wife, and have issue between them, the issue shall be villeins.