From Middle English knave, from Old English cnafa (“child, boy, youth; servant”), from Proto-Germanic *knabô (“boy, youth”), from Proto-Indo-European *gnebʰ- (“to press, tighten”), from Proto-Indo-European *gen- (“to pinch, squeeze, bend, press together, ball”). Cognate with German Knabe (“lad”) and Dutch knaap (“lad”). Related also to knape.
knave (plural knaves)
- (archaic) A boy; especially, a boy servant.
- (archaic) Any male servant; a menial.
- A tricky, deceitful fellow; a dishonest person; a rogue; a villain.
- (card games) A playing card marked with the figure of a servant or soldier; a jack.
- See also Wikisaurus:villain