Words at Play : Top 10 Charming Words for Nasty People

#3: Knave

Definition:

a tricky deceitful fellow

Examples:

"A knave, a rascal, an eater of broken meats; a base, proud, shallow, beggarly, three-suited, hundred-pound, filthy worsted-stocking knave ..." – William Shakespeare, King Lear, 1605-6

"A pro-Romney political action committee, Restore Our Future, spent more than $4 million ensuring that Iowans couldn't watch 10 minutes of television without being assaulted by an ad explaining why Gingrich was a scoundrel, a knave, a hack, a goon or – shudder – a closet liberal." – Eugene Robinson, The Washington Post, January 4, 2012

About the Word:

The Bard was particularly fond of the word knave – it crops up throughout his plays. One of the oldest words in English, knave comes the Old English cnafa, meaning "boy" or "male servant."

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