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Webster 1913 Edition


Knave

Knave

(nāv)
,
Noun.
[OE., boy, servant, knave, AS.
cnafa
boy, youth; cf. AS.
cnapa
boy, youth, D.
knaap
, G.
knabe
boy,
knappe
esquire, Icel.
knapi
, Sw.
knape
esquire,
knäfvel
knave.]
1.
A boy; especially, a boy servant.
[Obs.]
Wyclif. Chaucer.
O murderous slumber,
Lay’st thou thy leaden mace upon my boy
That plays thee music ? Gentle
knave
, good night.
Shakespeare
2.
Any male servant; a menial.
[Obs.]
Chaucer.
He's but Fortune's
knave
,
A minister of her will.
Shakespeare
3.
A tricky, deceitful fellow; a dishonest person; a rogue; a villain.
“A pair of crafty knaves.”
Shak.
In defiance of demonstration,
knaves
will continue to proselyte fools.
Ames.
☞ “How many serving lads must have been unfaithful and dishonest before knave – which meant at first no more than boy – acquired the meaning which it has now !”
Trench.
4.
A playing card marked with the figure of a servant or soldier; a jack;
as, the
knave
of hearts
.
Syn. – Villain; cheat; rascal; rogue; scoundrel; miscreant.

Webster 1828 Edition


Knave

KNAVE

,
Noun.
nave.
1.
A boy; a man-child.
2.
A servant.
3.
A false deceitful fellow; a dishonest man or boy.
In defiance of demonstration, knaves will continue to proselyte fools.
4.
A card with a soldier painted on it.

Definition 2021


knave

knave

English

Noun

knave (plural knaves)

  1. (archaic) A boy; especially, a boy servant.
  2. (archaic) Any male servant; a menial.
  3. A tricky, deceitful fellow; a dishonest person; a rogue; a villain.
    • 1908, W[illiam] B[lair] M[orton] Ferguson, Zollenstein, New York, N.Y.: D. Appleton & Company, OCLC 29686887 , chapter II:
      I had never defrauded a man of a farthing, nor called him knave behind his back. But now the last rag that covered my nakedness had been torn from me. I was branded a blackleg, card-sharper, and murderer.
    • 1977, Geoffrey Chaucer (in Modern English translation), The Canterbury Tales, Penguin Classics, p. 204:
      God's bones! Whenever I go to beat those knaves / my tapsters, out she [my wife] comes with clubs and staves, / "Go on!" she screams — and it's a caterwaul — / "You kill those dogs! Break back and bones and all!"
  4. (card games) A playing card marked with the figure of a servant or soldier; a jack.

Synonyms

  • See also Wikisaurus:villain

Derived terms

Translations