From Old High German knabo, from Proto-Germanic *knabô (“boy, youth”), from Proto-Indo-European *gnebʰ- (“to press, tighten”). Cognate with English knave, Dutch knaap (“boy”), Danish knabe (“page”), Old Norse knapi (“valet”). See also the related Knappe.
- Knabe used to be the standard term for “boy” until the early 20th century. As the word was restricted to written style and had no basis in any regional dialects it has since been replaced with more native Junge (throughout the language area) or Bube (alternatively in southern Germany and Austria).
- Knabe in Duden online