Knave (?), n. [OE., boy, servant, knave, AS. cnafa boy, youth; cf. AS. cnapa boy, youth, D. knap, G. knabe boy, knappe esquire, Icel. knapi, Sw. knape esquire, knafvel knave.]

1.

A boy; especially, a boy servant.

[Obs.]

Wyclif. Chaucer.

O murderous slumber, Lay'st thou thy leaden mace upon my boy That plays thee music? Gentle knave, good night. Shak.

2.

Any male servant; a menial.

[Obs.]

Chaucer.

He's but Fortune's knave, A minister of her will. Shak.

3.

A tricky, deceitful fellow; a dishonest person; a rogue; a villain.

"A pair of crafty knaves."

Shak.

In defiance of demonstration, knaves will continue to proselyte fools. Ames.

"How many serving lads must have been unfaithful and dishonest before knave -which meant at first no more than boy -- acquired the meaning which it has now !"

Trench.

4.

A playing card marked with the figure of a servant or soldier; a jack.

Knave child, a male child. [Obs.]

Chaucer.

Syn. -- Villain; cheat; rascal; rogue; scoundrel; miscreant.

 

© Webster 1913.

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