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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 ?
Life can be pretty grim for us villeins and serfs these days, too, with political strife, rising prices, Brexit confusion and Town without a win in the Premiership.
BAKER, AN INTRODUCTION TO ENGLISH LEGAL HISTORY 468 (2002) (villeins in feudal England); W.
(3.) The Oxford English Dictionary defines a villein as "a feudal tenant entirely subject to a lord or manor to whom he paid dues and services in return for land."
Formerly a farm-worker, this woman-mountain was apparently a violated art-lover who became a bitter and venomous (aconital) bringer of retribution to enemies of the Cotsets, a long-detested Latin American criminal gang, named after a low class of early English villeins (peasants).
(5) The original 1215 version of Magna Carta referred to the rights of a "freeman"; the 1354 statute removed the word "free-man," and replaced it with "No man of what estate or condition that he be," a generous expansion that included freemen, villeins, bordars, and cottars.
(19) Although there is evidence that villeins could be manumitted.
He believes that he is truly the character played." These small bites do not refer only to the description of the villeins. When talking, for instance, about the education acquired in the Western universities by the rich classes, Besancon cannot refrain to quote Koyre, because young Russians studying in Germany have not read the books of Schelling, Hegel, or Schleiermacher, being satisfied only to consult the timetable.
Not very progressive as regards the lower classes, the villeins who weren't "free men" and not progressive as regards women.
The Villeins, pictured above, will be the main act of the night and the five-piece indie rockers promise to deliver a memorable set having earned their stripes sharing the stage with the likes of VIVA Brother and The Rumble Strips.
When he posits that Bettina has the sweet spirit in her heart ("se la Bettina / porta soave spirito nel core"), he wonders if she is truly noble: noble as contrasted to the uncouth villeins of the rural areas, of course; but also noble, the inner virtuous nature that the base aristocrats lack.
Colorado, discussing the First Amendment standard that a statute must be narrowly tailored to achieve it purposes, Scalia quipped that to the Court's majority, "narrow tailoring must refer not to the standards of Versace, but to those of Omar the tentmaker." (12) Apparently a renaissance man versed in history as well as fashion and literature, the Justice once reproached his colleagues for siding with the knights "Templar" rather than with the peasant "villeins." (13) Cinema, too, is within his domain of knowledge; witness his dig in NASA v.
Class struggle between the feudal owners of large land manors and the emerging industrial capitalist bourgeoisie caused a breakdown in feudal class relations (between the lords of the manor and the villeins, peasants or tenant farmers who were legally tied to a lord of the manor) and their replacement with new social relations between labour and capital.