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See more synonyms for knavish on Thesaurus.com
  1. like or befitting a knave; untrustworthy; dishonest.
  2. Archaic. waggish; roguish; mischievous.
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Origin of knavish

First recorded in 1350–1400, knavish is from the Middle English word knavyssh. See knave, -ish1
Related formsknav·ish·ly, adverbknav·ish·ness, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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Examples from the Web for knavish

Historical Examples

  • The word is also used adjectively for "knavish tricks," "rogueries."

    Notes and Queries, Number 66, February 1, 1851


  • But they must have forgotten all about Mr. Crow's knavish cousin, Jasper Jay.

    The Tale of Jasper Jay

    Arthur Scott Bailey

  • I was describing to F—— some knavish tricks of a mutual friend of ours.

  • They were like monkeys for their knavish and thievish tricks.

  • How could I foresee I should have to deal with a knavish sort of a nameless something?


    E. (Eliza) Fenwick

Word Origin and History for knavish


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

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper