Origin of English word VILE

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English Word


Edenic Word


Hebrew Word







[(N) VL]


vile, villain


VILE is thought to come from Old French vil and Latin vilis (cheap, base). There is no Indo-European “root” available for VILE (wicked, sinful, depraved), but the vile VILLAIN is traced to Latin villa (a farm) and the Indo-European “root” weik (clan). Lexicographers were often rootless cosmopolitans who disdained rural people as tasteless and evil (see EVIL.).  But urban rat races produce more rats.  VILLAIN should be an M231 metathesis of  נבל   Na[V]ahL (ignoble, disgraceful, VILLAINOUS person – EDK). For a similar M231 see VIOLIN from נבל   Nay[V]eL (harp – see “VIOLIN.   Isaiah 32:6  is rendered by the 1978 JPS:  " For the VILLAIN  ( נבל   Na[V]ahL ) speaks VILLAINY ( נבלה   Ni[V]aLaH)"

The KJV in Isaiah 32: 5 and 6 likewise translates  נבל Na[V]ahL as "a VILE person."  נבלה   Ni[V]ayLaH is a carcass (Leviticus 5:2), non-slaughtered meat  that is too vile for consumption.  Other vile bilabial-liquid  terms include זבל Ze[V]eL  (refuse – see FOUL) and   עול [A]VeL (unjust – Deuteronomy 32:4). עול   [A]VeL is also awrongdoer  – see  EVIL). The ב-ל Bhet-Lamed sub-root is explained at BALL. נבר

נבר   NaBHahR is a pure-hearted man (II Samuel: 22: 27 – see PURE); the S-L opposite of the   נבל NaBHaL (villain).


The cheap and base sense of Latin vilismay derive form בלוי   BaLOOY (shabby) and בלה   BaLaH (worn out; decay – Deu t eronomy 8:4)). Both BL words may be read VL. FOUL (see FOUL), FILTH and DEFILE are linked to Old English ful (unclean, rotten). ניבל   NeeVaiL is to disfigure or make ugly. מנובל   MiNOO(V)ahL is repulsive or despicable, perhaps why MANAVELINS is a nautical term for leftovers. MANAVELINS also means to steal ("origin unknown"), and VILLAINY is the dominant theme in Hebrew בל   /   VL terms. The Cornish vellan is one of many VILLAINOUS  characters.   עוול   [A]VeL means injustice or wrong – see   EVIL and "iniquity" in.

To VILIFY and to REVILE (to use abusive language) are verbal evils.  NeeBHOOL PeH means lascivious speech, obscenity, or, literally, being "VILE-mouthed."    תפלה TiPHLaH, of similarbilabial-liquid sound, is another word  meaning unsavoryandobscene.

See PALL for the color of VILE.

Bible Verses

Isaiah 32:5 לא־יקרא עוד לנבל נדיב ולכילי לא יאמר שׁוע׃

“The vile person shall be no more called liberal, nor the churl said to be noble.”



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