Jump to navigation Jump to search
knave (plural knaves)
- (archaic) A boy; especially, a boy servant.
- (archaic) Any male servant; a menial.
- c. 1603–1604 (date written), William Shakespeare, “The Tragedie of Othello, the Moore of Venice”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies […] (First Folio), London: […] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act I, scene i]:
- Many a duteous and knee-crooking knave that, doting on his own obsequious bondage, wears out his time, much like his master's ass, For naught but provender, and when he's old – cashier'd! Whip me such honest knaves.
- A tricky, deceitful fellow; a dishonest person.
- 1726 October 28, [Jonathan Swift], “A Further Account of Glubbdubdrib. […]”, in Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World. […], volume II, London: […] Benj[amin] Motte, […], →OCLC, part III (A Voyage to Laputa, Balnibarbi, Glubbdubdribb, Luggnagg, and Japan), page 108:
- I could plainly diſcover from whence one Family derives a long Chin; why a ſecond hath abounded with Knaves for two Generations, and Fools for two more; why a third happened to be crack-brained, and a fourth to be Sharpers.
- 1848 November – 1850 December, William Makepeace Thackeray, chapter 44, in The History of Pendennis. […], volumes (please specify |volume=I or II), London: Bradbury and Evans, […], published 1849–1850, →OCLC:
- He was a man whom scarcely any amount of fortune could have benefited permanently, and who was made to be ruined, to cheat small tradesmen, to be the victim of astuter sharpers: to be niggardly and reckless, and as destitute of honesty as the people who cheated him, and a dupe, chiefly because he was too mean to be a successful knave.
- 1908, W[illiam] B[lair] M[orton] Ferguson, chapter II, in Zollenstein, New York, N.Y.: D. Appleton & Company, →OCLC:
- 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.
- 1951, Geoffrey Chaucer, translated by Nevill Coghill, The Canterbury Tales: Translated into Modern English (Penguin Classics), Penguin Books, published 1977, page 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!"
- (card games) A playing card marked with the figure of a servant or soldier; a jack.
- See also Thesaurus:villain
archaic: boy; especially, boy servant
archaic: any male servant
- son, male child (offspring)
- boy, lad, male child or baby
- guy, bloke, man
- servant, hireling, menial
- peasant, lowly individual
- infantryman, soldier
- knave, caitiff, despicable individual