c. 1300, "non-Christian, pagan, infidel;" early 15c., "heretical, unbelieving," from Old French mescreant "disbelieving" (Modern French mécréant), from mes- "wrongly" (see mis- (2)) + creant, present participle of creire "believe," from Latin credere "to believe" (see credo). Meaning "villainous" is from 1590s.
late 14c., "heathen, Saracen," from miscreant (adj.) or from Old French mescreant, which also had a noun sense of "infidel, pagan, heretic." Sense of "villain" first recorded 1590 in Spenser.
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