[ neyv ]
See synonyms for knave on
  1. an unprincipled, untrustworthy, or dishonest person.

  1. Archaic.

    • a male servant.

    • a man of humble position.

Origin of knave

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

synonym study For knave

1. 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.

Other words for knave

Opposites for knave

Words that may be confused with knave Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use knave in a sentence

  • Let your orders for preparation go round tonight, so that your knaves may be ready to set out betimes to-morrow.

    St. Martin's Summer | Rafael Sabatini
  • Of course these are neutral ships; but it adds to our chance of finding out where and how these knaves draw their supplies!

  • All those who deceive mankind are not always cheats; they are frequently deceived by those who are knaves in reality.

    Letters To Eugenia | Paul Henri Thiry Holbach
  • But while the world is full of fools, it is too much to expect there shall be any lack of knaves to prey upon them!

    Witch, Warlock, and Magician | William Henry Davenport Adams
  • The tricks o' knaves, or fash o' fools,Thou bear'st the gree!

British Dictionary definitions for knave


/ (neɪv) /

  1. archaic a dishonest man; rogue

  2. another word for jack 1 (def. 6)

  1. obsolete a male servant

Origin of knave

Old English cnafa; related to Old High German knabo boy

Derived forms of knave

  • knavish, adjective
  • knavishly, adverb
  • knavishness, noun

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012