/nayv/, n.
1. an unprincipled, untrustworthy, or dishonest person.
2. Cards. jack1 (def. 2).
3. Archaic.
a. a male servant.
b. a man of humble position.
[bef. 1000; ME; OE cnafa; c. G Knabe boy; akin to ON knapi page, boy]
Syn. 1. blackguard, villain, scamp, scapegrace. KNAVE, RASCAL, ROGUE, SCOUNDREL are disparaging terms applied to persons considered base, dishonest, or worthless. KNAVE, which formerly meant merely a boy or servant, in modern use emphasizes baseness of nature and intention: a dishonest and swindling knave. RASCAL suggests shrewdness and trickery in dishonesty: a plausible rascal.
A ROGUE is a worthless fellow who sometimes preys extensively upon the community by fraud: photographs of criminals in a rogues' gallery. A SCOUNDREL is a blackguard and rogue of the worst sort: a thorough scoundrel. RASCAL and ROGUE are often used affectionately or humorously (an entertaining rascal; a saucy rogue), but KNAVE and SCOUNDREL are not.
Ant. hero.

* * *

Universalium. 2010.

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Knave — (n[=a]v), n. [OE., boy, servant, knave, AS. cnafa boy, youth; cf. AS. cnapa boy, youth, D. knaap, G. knabe boy, knappe esquire, Icel. knapi, Sw. knape esquire, kn[ a]fvel knave.] 1. A boy; especially, a boy servant. [Obs.] Wyclif. Chaucer. [1913… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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  • knave — [nāv] n. [ME knaue < OE cnafa, boy, male child, akin to Ger knabe] 1. Archaic a) a serving boy or male servant b) a man of humble birth or status 2. a dishonest, deceitful person; tricky rascal; rogue 3. JACK (n …   English World dictionary

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