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KNAVE (O.E. cnafa, cognate with Ger. Knabc, boy), originally a male child, a boy (Chaucer, Canterbury Tales: " Clerk's Tale," i. 388). Like Lat. puer, the word was early used as a name for any boy or lad employed as a servant, and so of male servants in general (Chaucer: " Pardoner's Tale," i. 204). The current use of the word for a man who is dishonest and crafty, a rogue, was however an early usage, and is found in Layamon (c. 1205). In playing-cards the lowest court card of each suit, the " jack," representing a medieval servant, is called the " knave." (See also VALET.)

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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