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knave

[neyv] /neɪv/
noun
1.
an unprincipled, untrustworthy, or dishonest person.
2.
Cards. jack1 (def 2).
3.
Archaic.
  1. a male servant.
  2. a man of humble position.
Origin
1000
before 1000; Middle English; Old English cnafa; cognate with German Knabe boy; akin to Old Norse knapi page, boy
Can be confused
knave, naval, nave (see synonym study at the current entry)
Synonyms
1. blackguard, villain, scamp, scapegrace. 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.
Antonyms
hero.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for knaves
  • But the spirit which raised these knaves to autocratic power survives.
  • knaves and robbers can obtain only what was before possessed by others.
  • Tho editor who at tempts to screen his comrades in crime is king of tho knaves who find shelter under his shield.
  • Great knaves thrive only by winking at the knavery of their under- strappers.
British Dictionary definitions for knaves

knave

/neɪv/
noun
1.
(archaic) a dishonest man; rogue
2.
another word for jack1 (sense 6)
3.
(obsolete) a male servant
Derived Forms
knavish, adjective
knavishly, adverb
knavishness, noun
Word Origin
Old English cnafa; related to Old High German knabo boy
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 knaves

knave

n.

Old English cnafa "boy, male servant," common Germanic (cf. Old High German knabo "boy, youth, servant," German knabe "boy, lad," also probably related to Old English cnapa "boy, youth, servant," Old Norse knapi "servant boy," Dutch knaap "a youth, servant," Middle High German knappe "a young squire," German Knappe "squire, shield-bearer"). The original meaning might have been "stick, piece of wood" [Klein]. Sense of "rogue, rascal" first recorded c.1200. In playing cards, "the jack," 1560s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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13
15
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