noun \gə-ˈwān, ˈgä-ˌwān, ˈga-ən\

Definition of GAWAIN

:  a knight of the Round Table and nephew of King Arthur

First Known Use of GAWAIN

14th century


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Knight of King Arthur's Round Table. A nephew of Arthur, he appears in early Arthurian legend as a model of perfection. In later romances, his character is marred by arrogance and by an inability to perceive the significance of the grail. In the 14th-century Middle English poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, he accepted a challenge from a mysterious Green Knight, who offered to let Gawain chop off his head if he could return the blow one year later. When the blow was struck, the Knight picked up his head and left the court, and Gawain set out in search of him. After passing through a series of temptations, Gawain met the Green Knight's blows and suffered only a small wound, his neck protected by a magical green sash.


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