\ˈnīt \

Definition of knight 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1a(1) : a mounted man-at-arms serving a feudal superior especially : a man ceremonially inducted into special military rank usually after completing service as page and squire

(2) : a man honored by a sovereign for merit and in Great Britain ranking below a baronet

(3) : a person of antiquity equal to a knight in rank

b : a man devoted to the service of a lady as her attendant or champion

c : a member of an order or society

2 : either of two pieces of each color in a set of chessmen having the power to make an L-shaped move of two squares in one row and one square in a perpendicular row over squares that may be occupied


knighted; knighting; knights

Definition of knight (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to make a knight of

Examples of knight in a Sentence


He was made a knight.


He is to be knighted by the Queen for his career as an actor.

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The knight Olberic used to find meaning in combat by defending his king. Steven Strom, Ars Technica, "In Octopath Traveler, jobs define more than just gameplay mechanics," 22 Aug. 2018 Critics say the knights of American chess are nothing but sellswords. Joshua Robinson, WSJ, "‘They Are Indeed Buying Nerds!’ Chess World Questions an American Grandmaster’s Move—to the U.S.," 19 Nov. 2018 But most of them make sense, historically—Trooping the Colour, for example, is a patriotic celebration, and Order of the Garter involves knights and nobility. Elise Taylor, Vogue, "Inside the Royal Family’s Oddest Tradition: Swan Upping," 17 July 2018 The royal family's official website states that the knights and ladies dress in green velvet robes for a ceremony at the Thistle Chapel in St Giles' Cathedral, where new members are installed by Queen Elizabeth II. Eileen Reslen, Town & Country, "Kate Middleton Had a Really Good Reason for Not Attending the Order of the Thistle Today," 6 July 2018 What are the qualifications for becoming a dame or knight? Vogue, "Emma Thompson, Mick Jagger, and All the Celebrities Knighted by the British Royal Family," 7 Nov. 2018 Lots of shoes are practical, but only this one was worn by the cowboy: an American folk hero, a knight-errant figure with world-wide appeal. Nancy Macdonell, WSJ, "The Cowboy Boot’s Unlikely Journey from Ranch to Runway," 21 Aug. 2018 On Garter Day, the Queen and her knights process in grand ceremonial garb at Windsor Castle. Rose Minutaglio, Harper's BAZAAR, "Why Prince Harry, Meghan Markle, and Kate Middleton Weren't at the Order of the Garter Service," 18 June 2018 Like the knights in the procession, the royals attending the ceremony dressed in a deep green velvet mantle with a white lining and star on the left side. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Prince William's Super Ornate Outfit in Scotland Is Full of Royal Symbolism," 6 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

In 1999, he was made a Commander of the British Empire and was knighted in 2003. Stephanie Nolasco, Fox News, "Roger Moore's daughter shares memories of growing up with James Bond star," 10 July 2018 He’s now Sir Barry Gibb after Prince Charles knighted him at a ceremony at Buckingham Palace in London. Erin Ben-moche,, "Knight fever: It's now Sir Barry Gibb to you," 26 June 2018 Former Liverpool player and manager Kenny Dalglish, 67, was also knighted for his services to soccer, charity and the city of Liverpool. Fox News, "Queen Elizabeth II to honor Emma Thompson, Tom Hardy and Keira Knightley at Buckingham Palace," 9 June 2018 Everyday heroes will be announced and knighted at the event. Sheryl Devore, Lake County News-Sun, "Take a day trip to the past at Bristol Renaissance Faire," 25 June 2018 Former Liverpool soccer great Kenny Dalglish was also knighted, as was historian and broadcaster Professor Simon Schama. Laura Smith-spark, CNN, "Actress Emma Thompson made a dame in Queen's birthday honors list," 8 June 2018 Knighthood Queen Elizabeth II knighted him in 2017, the same year in which TIME named him one's 100 most influential people in the world. Steven Litt,, "Sir David Adjaye, designer of African-American museum, to keynote Cleveland Foundation annual meeting May 1," 18 Mar. 2018 The other surviving Beatle, Paul McCartney, was knighted in 1997., "Drumroll Please: It’s Sir Ringo as Ex-Beatle Knighted," 20 Mar. 2018 The Baratheon side came out victorious, and King Robert knighted Ser Jorah as a result. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "All of the reunions and meetings in "Eastwatch," explained.," 15 Aug. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'knight.' 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 knight


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a(1)


13th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for knight


Middle English, from Old English cniht man-at-arms, boy, servant; akin to Old High German kneht youth, military follower

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Statistics for knight

Last Updated

11 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for knight

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

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English Language Learners Definition of knight

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a soldier in the past who had a high social rank and who fought while riding a horse and usually wearing armor

: a man who is given a special honor and the title of Sir by the king or queen of England

: a chess piece shaped like a horse's head



English Language Learners Definition of knight (Entry 2 of 2)

: to give (a man) the rank of a knight


\ˈnīt \

Kids Definition of knight

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a warrior of the Middle Ages who fought on horseback, served a king, held a special military rank, and swore to behave in a noble way

2 : a man honored for merit by a king or queen of England and ranking below a baronet

3 : one of the pieces in the game of chess

Other Words from knight

knightly adjective


knighted; knighting

Kids Definition of knight (Entry 2 of 2)

: to honor a man for merit by granting him the title of knight

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More from Merriam-Webster on knight

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with knight

Spanish Central: Translation of knight

Nglish: Translation of knight for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of knight for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about knight

Comments on knight

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


a knickknack or trinket

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