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[nahyt] /naɪt/
a mounted soldier serving under a feudal superior in the Middle Ages.
(in Europe in the Middle Ages) a man, usually of noble birth, who after an apprenticeship as page and squire was raised to honorable military rank and bound to chivalrous conduct.
any person of a rank similar to that of the medieval knight.
a man upon whom the nonhereditary dignity of knighthood is conferred by a sovereign because of personal merit or for services rendered to the country. In Great Britain he holds the rank next below that of a baronet, and the title Sir is prefixed to the Christian name, as in Sir John Smith.
a member of any order or association that designates its members as knights.
Chess. a piece shaped like a horse's head, moved one square vertically and then two squares horizontally or one square horizontally and two squares vertically.
  1. a short vertical timber having on its head a sheave through which running rigging is rove.
  2. any other fitting or erection bearing such a sheave.
verb (used with object)
to dub or make (a man) a knight.
Origin of knight
before 900; Middle English; Old English cniht boy, manservant; cognate with German, Dutch knecht servant
Related forms
knightless, adjective
unknighted, adjective
Can be confused
knight, night.


[nahyt] /naɪt/
Eric, 1897–1943, U.S. novelist, born in England.
Frank Hyneman
[hahy-nuh-muh n] /ˈhaɪ nə mən/ (Show IPA),
1885–1972, U.S. economist. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for knight
  • The knight, the lady, and the priest the making of modern marriage in medieval france.
  • An alternate setup is that the knight next to the king is taken.
  • By turning the knob on its hilt, it transforms him back into the sentinel knight.
  • According to knight, the incident led to him publicly coming out of the closet.
  • knight rider legacy the unofficial guide to the knight rider universe.
  • This represented a transformation for one raised as a feudal knight.
  • Naming the white knight explains the rather confusing naming for the song.
  • The serfs had a place in feudal society in much the same fashion as a baron or a knight.
  • The rank of a baronet is between that of a baron and a knight.
  • Immediately after the game, knight lamented that it should have been two.
British Dictionary definitions for knight


(in medieval Europe)
  1. (originally) a person who served his lord as a mounted and heavily armed soldier
  2. (later) a gentleman invested by a king or other lord with the military and social standing of this rank
(in modern times) a person invested by a sovereign with a nonhereditary rank and dignity usually in recognition of personal services, achievements, etc. A British knight bears the title Sir placed before his name, as in Sir Winston Churchill
a chess piece, usually shaped like a horse's head, that moves either two squares horizontally and one square vertically or one square horizontally and two squares vertically
a heroic champion of a lady or of a cause or principle
a member of the Roman class of the equites
(transitive) to make (a person) a knight; dub
Word Origin
Old English cniht servant; related to Old High German kneht boy


Dame Laura. 1887–1970, British painter, noted for her paintings of Gypsies, the ballet, and the circus
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
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Word Origin and History for knight

Old English cniht "boy, youth; servant, attendant," common West Germanic (cf. Old Frisian kniucht, Dutch knecht, Middle High German kneht "boy, youth, lad," German Knecht "servant, bondman, vassal"), of unknown origin. The plural in Middle English sometimes was knighten. Meaning "military follower of a king or other superior" is from c.1100. Began to be used in a specific military sense in Hundred Years War, and gradually rose in importance until it became a rank in the nobility 16c. The chess piece so called from mid-15c. Knight in shining armor in figurative sense is from 1917, from the man who rescues the damsel in distress in romantic dramas (perhaps especially "Lohengrin"). Knights of Columbus, society of Catholic men, founded 1882 in New Haven, Connecticut, U.S.; Knights of Labor, trade union association, founded in Philadelphia, 1869; Knights of Pythias, secret order, founded in Washington, 1864.


"to make a knight of (someone)," early 13c., from knight (n.). Related: Knighted; knighting.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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knight in Culture

knight definition

A mounted warrior in Europe in the Middle Ages. (See chivalry.)

Note: Over the centuries, knighthood gradually lost its military functions, but it has survived as a social distinction in Europe, especially in England.
The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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