In India we generally use heroine as the female counterpart of a hero in a film. Is it grammatically acceptable? Further, is there any feminine counterpart for a villain either in tinsel world or in real life?

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    You have a plethora of choices, as female villains run the gamut from the grotesque Wicked Witch of the West terrorizing the Land of Oz like a predator drone, to the banal (and, perhaps, more frightening) Nurse Ratched, prosaic guardian of the status quo administering her bitter pills to the patients of the Salem, Oregon, State Hospital, in Ken Kesey's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. – user98990 Jul 12 '15 at 19:25
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    @LittleEva Good choices - two of my 'favourites'. To the OP, yes heroine is a perfectly acceptable term, especially to anyone of my advanced age. The word villain usually covers both masculine and feminine cases (though villainess does exist). In French the words villain (m) and villaine (f) do not have the strength of meaning that villain has in English - they tend to translate as naughty e.g. with children. – WS2 Jul 12 '15 at 20:19
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    Check-out these links: Does the term 'heroine' retain its legitimacy?; and: Is ‘hero’ applicable to females?. – user98990 Jul 12 '15 at 20:43
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    As noted by Little Eva. The term "heroine" is not traditionally the counterpart of "hero" but rather the counterpart of "sidekick". That is, the heroine supports the hero but is not the main hero of the story. Therefore there is an increasing use of the term "hero" to refer to women in stories where there is no male hero (or ones where the hero/love-interest dynamic is inverted) – slebetman Jul 12 '15 at 23:57

Villainess is the feminine counterpart of the word, though it is rarely used. Most of the time in normal conversation, and Disney would prove as an example, villain can refer to both genders

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    Cruella de Vil – user98990 Jul 12 '15 at 19:29
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    Cruella de Vil – Little Eva just looks wrong, somehow. – Edwin Ashworth Jul 12 '15 at 19:35
  • Why? @Edwin Ashworth – user98990 Jul 12 '15 at 20:36
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    The dash can signify an appositive. – Edwin Ashworth Jul 12 '15 at 22:06
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    My wife says I'm witty about half the time. Or words to that effect. – Edwin Ashworth Jul 13 '15 at 8:50

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