\ ˈnāv How to pronounce knave (audio) \

Definition of knave

1 : a tricky deceitful fellow
3 archaic
a : a boy servant
b : a male servant
c : a man of humble birth or position

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Examples of knave in a Sentence

he plays the role of the duplicitous knave who tries to foil the play's hero
Recent Examples on the Web The supporting cast includes knaves and villans such as outlaw John Wesley Hardin, Mexican General Santa Anna and swindler Billy Sol Estes. John Maccormack,, 27 May 2020 Identifying Figueras as a fellow-knave, Cassidy gives him a delicate sin to commit. Anthony Lane, The New Yorker, 28 Feb. 2020 Anybody who makes firm predictions now is a fool or a knave. John Cassidy, The New Yorker, 28 Feb. 2020 The Founding Fathers were not unaware of the possibility that a demagogue or a knave might win the presidency. Ezra Klein, Vox, 6 Sep. 2018 Anyone who has observed both major parties over the decades knows that each party has its share of fools, knaves, and outright crooks. John Fund, National Review, 8 Oct. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'knave.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of knave

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3

History and Etymology for knave

Middle English, from Old English cnafa; akin to Old High German knabo boy

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Time Traveler for knave

Time Traveler

The first known use of knave was before the 12th century

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Dictionary Entries Near knave



knave bairn

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Cite this Entry

“Knave.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Jul. 2021.

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More Definitions for knave



English Language Learners Definition of knave

: a dishonest man
: a playing card that ranks below a queen and above a 10


\ ˈnāv How to pronounce knave (audio) \

Kids Definition of knave

More from Merriam-Webster on knave

Nglish: Translation of knave for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of knave for Arabic Speakers


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