Subject: Re: Difference between LISP and C++
From: Erik Naggum <>
Date: 07 Nov 2002 06:21:51 +0000
Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp
Message-ID: <>

* Rob Warnock
| Actually, Merriam-Webster's online <URL:>
| *does* cross-reference the two words in both directions, albeit still
| giving only benign meanings (e.g., free villager of certain feudal ranks)
| to the "villein" form...

  As far as I can see, no dictionary redirects from "villein" to "villain",
  except for etymological purposes, and certainly not Merriam-Webster's.

  From the Pocket Fowler's Modern English Usage, we find this entry.

villain, villein.  The two spellings are forms of a single word with two
branches, originally meaning either "a low-born rustic" or "a serf in the
feudal system" and derived from the Latin word villa meaning "country
house or farm".  The spelling villain was associated from the 17c with the
worsened meaning "an unprincipled scoundrel", while the other form villein
slipped into historical use as the feudal system was replaced by
capitalism.  The distinction is preserved in current usage.

  As far as I have been able to ascertain, calling someone a "villein"
  would not have either the denotations or the connotations of "villain",
  but the reverse may be true in the specific context of medieval usage.

Erik Naggum, Oslo, Norway

Act from reason, and failure makes you rethink and study harder.
Act from faith, and failure makes you blame someone and push harder.