\ ˈnāv \

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 Founding Fathers were not unaware of the possibility that a demagogue or a knave might win the presidency. Ezra Klein, Vox, "The crisis isn’t Trump. It’s his Republican enablers.," 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, "Menendez and Murphy: A Tale of Two Transgressors," 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.

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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Dictionary Entries near knave





knave bairn



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Time Traveler for knave

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

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English Language Learners Definition of knave

: a dishonest man

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


\ ˈnāv \

Kids Definition of knave

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More from Merriam-Webster on knave

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with knave

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for knave

Spanish Central: Translation of knave

Nglish: Translation of knave for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of knave for Arabic Speakers

Comments on knave

What made you want to look up knave? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to settle judicially or to act as judge

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