Knave Knave (n[=a]v), n. [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, kn["a]fvel knave.] 1. A boy; especially, a boy servant. [Obs.] --Wyclif. Chaucer. [1913 Webster]

O murderous slumber, Lay'st thou thy leaden mace upon my boy That plays thee music ? Gentle knave, good night. --Shak. [1913 Webster]

2. Any male servant; a menial. [Obs.] --Chaucer. [1913 Webster]

He's but Fortune's knave, A minister of her will. --Shak. [1913 Webster]

3. A tricky, deceitful fellow; a dishonest person; a rogue; a villain. ``A pair of crafty knaves.'' --Shak. [1913 Webster]

In defiance of demonstration, knaves will continue to proselyte fools. --Ames. [1913 Webster]

Note: ``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. [1913 Webster]

4. A playing card marked with the figure of a servant or soldier; a jack; as, the knave of hearts. [1913 Webster]

{Knave child}, a male child. [Obs.] --Chaucer.

Syn: Villain; cheat; rascal; rogue; scoundrel; miscreant. [1913 Webster]

The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.

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  • knave — *villain, scoundrel, blackguard, rascal, rogue, scamp, rapscallion, miscreant …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • knave — ► NOUN 1) archaic a dishonest or unscrupulous man. 2) (in cards) a jack. DERIVATIVES knavery noun knavish adjective. ORIGIN Old English, «boy, servant» …   English terms dictionary

  • knave — [nāv] n. [ME knaue < OE cnafa, boy, male child, akin to Ger knabe] 1. Archaic a) a serving boy or male servant b) a man of humble birth or status 2. a dishonest, deceitful person; tricky rascal; rogue 3. JACK (n …   English World dictionary

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