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[ney-vish] /ˈneɪ vɪʃ/
like or befitting a knave; untrustworthy; dishonest.
Archaic. waggish; roguish; mischievous.
Origin of knavish
First recorded in 1350-1400, knavish is from the Middle English word knavyssh. See knave, -ish1
Related forms
knavishly, adverb
knavishness, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for knavish
Historical Examples
  • The knavish actions of the fox, however, are far more celebrated in the West than in the East.

    Zoological Mythology (Volume II) Angelo de Gubernatis
  • The word is also used adjectively for "knavish tricks," "rogueries."

  • I should not have thought that at your age you would be capable of such a knavish trick.

    The Memoires of Casanova, Complete Jacques Casanova de Seingalt
  • But they must have forgotten all about Mr. Crow's knavish cousin, Jasper Jay.

    The Tale of Jasper Jay Arthur Scott Bailey
  • He has a knavish look, sister, and has been hatching mischief with every step of his horse.

    Horse-Shoe Robinson John Pendleton Kennedy
  • We could see that he was sly and knavish—just the stuff we wanted.

  • "The people here are cowardly, knavish, and ignorant," said an Irishman twenty years resident in Westport.

    Ireland as It Is Robert John Buckley (AKA R.J.B.)
  • Like knavish cards, the leaves of all great books were covertly packed.

    Pierre; or The Ambiguities Herman Melville
  • Once 'a be a-thinkin' as what every rogue in the castle were a-stealin' o' rope's-ends to choken their knavish throats.

    The Red Tavern Charles Raymond Macauley
  • Hang out your lanthorns, trim your lightsTo save your days from knavish nights!

    One-Act Plays Various
Word Origin and History for knavish

late 14c., from knave + -ish. Related: Knavishly; knavishness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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