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View synonyms for knave

knave

[ neyv ]

noun

  1. an unprincipled, untrustworthy, or dishonest person.

    Synonyms: scapegrace, scamp, villain, blackguard

  2. Archaic.
    1. a male servant.
    2. a man of humble position.


knave

/ neɪv /

noun

  1. archaic.
    a dishonest man; rogue
  2. See jack
    another word for jack 1
  3. obsolete.
    a male servant


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Derived Forms

  • ˈknavishly, adverb
  • ˈknavish, adjective
  • ˈknavishness, noun

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Word History and Origins

Origin of knave1

First recorded before 1000; Middle English; Old English cnafa; cognate with German Knabe “boy”; akin to Old Norse knapi “page, boy”

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Word History and Origins

Origin of knave1

Old English cnafa; related to Old High German knabo boy

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Synonym Study

Knave, rascal, rogue, scoundrel are disparaging terms applied to persons considered base, dishonest, or worthless. Knave, which formerly meant merely a boy or servant, in modern use emphasizes baseness of nature and intention: a dishonest and swindling knave. Rascal suggests shrewdness and trickery in dishonesty: a plausible rascal. A rogue is a worthless fellow who sometimes preys extensively upon the community by fraud: photographs of criminals in a rogues' gallery. A scoundrel is a blackguard and rogue of the worst sort: a thorough scoundrel. Rascal and rogue are often used affectionately or humorously ( an entertaining rascal; a saucy rogue ), but knave and scoundrel are not.

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Example Sentences

Sometimes necessity makes an honest man a knave: and a rich man a honest man, because he has no occasion to be a knave.

He has drawn a knave and a six; he takes another card; this turns out to be an ace.

A witty knave bargained with a seller of lace in London for as much as would reach from one of his ears to the other.

Right; for your knave, when great folks have occasion for him, is received with little inquiry into his character.

Then, the sallow, black-haired knave who had last night proclaimed himself as Garnache in disguise was some impostor.

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