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From Old French varlet. Compare valet.



varlet (plural varlets)

  1. (obsolete) A servant or attendant.
  2. (historical) Specifically, a youth acting as a knight's attendant at the beginning of his training for knighthood.
  3. (archaic) A rogue or scoundrel.
    • 1574, Augustine Marlorate [i.e., Augustin Marlorat], “[Revelation 2:2]”, in Arthur Golding, transl., A Catholike Exposition vpon the Reuelation of Sainct Iohn. [], London: [] H[enry] Binneman, for L[ucas] Harison, and G[eorge] Bishop, →OCLC, folio 32, recto:
      [W]hen the worlde is fraughted with ſo manye varlettes, that it will be a long time ere a man ſhall diſcerne the faythful from the Hipocrites.
    • 1749, Henry Fielding, The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling, volumes (please specify |volume=I to VI), London: A[ndrew] Millar, [], →OCLC:
      My lady to be called a nasty Scotch wh–re by such a varlet!—To be sure I wish I had knocked his brains out with the punchbowl.
    • 1885–1886, Henry James, chapter VIII, in The Bostonians [], London; New York, N.Y.: Macmillan and Co., published 16 February 1886, →OCLC, 1st book, pages 57–58:
      He was false, cunning, vulgar, ignoble; the cheapest kind of human product [] The white, puffy mother, with the high forehead, in the corner there, looked more like a lady; but if she were one, it was all the more shame to her to have mated with such a varlet, Ransom said to himself, making use, as he did generally, of terms of opprobrium extracted from the older English literature.
  4. (obsolete, card games) The jack.



Old French[edit]


varlet oblique singularm (oblique plural varlez or varletz, nominative singular varlez or varletz, nominative plural varlet)

  1. Alternative form of vaslet