Word of the Day


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Liz Potter
Written by Liz Potter


a very bad fictional character in a comic book story, particularly one who has magical powers

View the full definition in the Macmillan Dictionary.

Origin and usage

The noun supervillain is formed from the prefix ‘super-‘ and the noun ‘villain’. It was first used at the beginning of the 20th century, in the hyphenated form super-villain, to refer to a villain who was extra villainous. The narrower meaning, referring to the counterpart of the superhero in comic books and the films based on them, dates from the 1960s. These days the word is generally spelled without a hyphen.


Just as a hero needs a villain, a superhero needs a supervillain whose roughly equivalent powers are used for evil, not good. The home of both is the comic book, especially those produced by Marvel Comics, and the films based on those stories and characters. The entry for supervillain is a recent submission to the Macmillan Open Dictionary by a user in Turkey. You can submit words and phrases that are not in the dictionary here.


“In this story, Kang is the first Marvel supervillain to successfully take over the world.”
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“The Oscar winner was excited to show fans her new role as the first female supervillain, Scarlett Overkill.
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Related words

baddy, bad guy, villain

Browse related words in the Macmillan Thesaurus.

About the author

Liz Potter

Liz Potter

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