Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A medieval tenant giving military service as a mounted man-at-arms to a feudal landholder.
  • n. A medieval gentleman-soldier, usually high-born, raised by a sovereign to privileged military status after training as a page and squire.
  • n. A man holding a nonhereditary title conferred by a sovereign in recognition of personal merit or service to the country.
  • n. A man belonging to an order or brotherhood.
  • n. A defender, champion, or zealous upholder of a cause or principle.
  • n. The devoted champion of a lady.
  • n. Games A chess piece, usually in the shape of a horse's head, that can be moved two squares along a rank and one along a file or two squares along a file and one along a rank. The knight is the only piece that can jump other pieces to land on an open square.
  • transitive v. To raise (a person) to knighthood.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A warrior, especially of the Middle Ages.
  • n. Nowadays, a person on whom a knighthood has been conferred by a monarch.
  • n. A chess piece, often in the shape of a horse's head, that is moved two squares in one direction and one at right angles to that direction in a single move, leaping over any intervening pieces.
  • v. To confer knighthood upon.
  • v. To promote (a pawn) to a knight.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A young servant or follower; a military attendant.
  • n.
  • n. In feudal times, a man-at-arms serving on horseback and admitted to a certain military rank with special ceremonies, including an oath to protect the distressed, maintain the right, and live a stainless life.
  • n. One on whom knighthood, a dignity next below that of baronet, is conferred by the sovereign, entitling him to be addressed as Sir; as, Sir John.
  • n. A champion; a partisan; a lover.
  • n. A piece used in the game of chess, usually bearing a horse's head.
  • n. A playing card bearing the figure of a knight; the knave or jack.
  • transitive v. To dub or create (one) a knight; -- done in England by the sovereign only, who taps the kneeling candidate with a sword, saying: Rise, Sir ---.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To dub or create a knight; confer the honor of knighthood upon. The ceremony is regularly performed by touching the person on whom the dignity is conferred with a sword as he kneels. See accolade, 1.
  • n. A boy; a youth; a young man.
  • n. An attendant or servant; especially, a military attendant; a man-at-arms; a soldier.
  • n. Specifically In Europe during the middle ages, a person of noble birth trained to arms and chivalry, first as page and afterward as squire to the sovereign, or to some earl, baron, or other superior lord, to whom he attached himself, and whom he was bound to follow to war on horseback.
  • n. In Great Britain in modern times, a man upon whom a certain honorary dignity has been conferred by a sovereign as a reward of personal merit of some kind, without reference to birth or possessions, and in no way involving military service, which disappeared as a feature of knighthood with the other institutions of chivalry.
  • n. A champion; a warrior; especially, a champion devoted to the service of another; a defender.
  • n. One of the pieces in the game of chess, having usually the figure of a horse's head.
  • n. In card-playing, the knave or jack. Abbreviated knt., or in combination K. (as K. G., Knight of the Garter; K. C. B., Knight Commander of the Bath).
  • n. A branch of the fraternity of Freemasons in the United states, with an organization based upon that of the medieval order of the same name.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a chessman shaped to resemble the head of a horse; can move two squares horizontally and one vertically (or vice versa)
  • n. originally a person of noble birth trained to arms and chivalry; today in Great Britain a person honored by the sovereign for personal merit
  • v. raise (someone) to knighthood

Etymologies

Middle English, from Old English cniht.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English knight, kniht, from Old English cniht, cneht, cneoht ("boy, youth, servant, attendant, retainer, disciple, warrior, boyhood, junior member of a guild"), from Proto-Germanic *knehtaz (compare Dutch knecht ("attendant, servant"), German Knecht ("lad, slave")), originally ‘billet (wood), block of wood’ (compare Dutch laarzeknecht ("boot-jack"), dialectal German Knüchtel ("bat, club"), from Proto-Indo-European *gnegʰ-, from *gen- ‘to ball up, pinch, compress’. (Wiktionary)
From Middle English knighten, kniȝten, from the noun. Cognate with Middle High German knehten. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • "What!" cried Helen, starting, "you think this knight is the royal Bruce?"

    The Scottish Chiefs

  • The superb disdain with which she met the project frightened these poor people, who were not mistaken in their fears that she was meditating what they called knight-errantry.

    An Historical Mystery

  • A 'knight' is a Christian artifact from a Christian culture just as much as a 'Kirtle Friar' is.

    MIND MELD: Gods by the Bushel

  • Wallace returned a gracious reply to this speech; and turning to Bruce, said, "This knight is my friend; and though from peculiar circumstances neither of us choose to disclose our names during our journey, yet, whatever they may be, I trust you will confide in the word of one whom you have honored by the address you have now made, and believe that his friend is not unworthy the hospitalities of him who was once king of Scots."

    The Scottish Chiefs

  • Illinois: The race between Rep. Mark Kirk (R) and state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias (D) reminds us of that great scene in "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" where the black knight is grievously wounded time and again but comes back for more.

    The Fix's "Big Senate Six"

  • Although you may not see it in the movies every true Jedi knight is required to build their own Lightsaber.

    SciFi, Fantasy & Horror Collectibles - Part 1216

  • The imagery of the black knight is an archetype, already ingrained in our minds.

    [GUEST POST] Ari Marmell on Why Anti Matters

  • One Word, Fanboys, they have compiled a list containing every comic book movie even remotely considered good, batman begins, 300, vfor vendetta, x-men and The dark knight is understandable, they should by all means be in a great movies list but spider-man and superman returns, come on.

    Empire Magazine’s 500 Greatest Movies Of All Time | /Film

  • The queen drifted across the board and landed, covering the white knight from a distance and effectively cutting off its offensive.

    365 tomorrows » 2008 » June : A New Free Flash Fiction SciFi Story Every Day

  • It turns out this dark knight is a personification of the devil, who corrupts Bertram.

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