This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.

Friday, 19 April 2013

Word To Use Today: knave.

In Britain, a jack in a pack of cards is sometimes called the knave:

Knave is the older term. It used to be thought much politer than jack, and jack seems to have become common chiefly because the abbreviations for king (K) and knave (Kn) were too easy to confuse when the cards were fanned in the hand.

A knave is always male, and always a villain. The most famous knavish crime is this one:

Queen of Hearts.jpg

Yes, the Knave of Hearts, he stole the tarts. At the end of the story the knave swears he'll steal no more, but who believes that? The man's a knave, after all.

Knave is a glorious word that should have more outings. So, when a driver cuts you up, a brisk shout of you utter knave, you! Is gauranteed to ease the feelings.

Knave will give sterling service when shouting at referees, politicians, and dogs, too.

Of course, if someone really annoys us, then Kent in Shakespeare's King Lear has the last word to describe them:

“A knave; a rascal; an eater of broken meats; a
base, proud, shallow, beggarly, three-suited,
hundred-pound, filthy, worsted-stocking knave; a
lily-livered, action-taking knave, a whoreson,
glass-gazing, super-serviceable finical rogue;
one-trunk-inheriting slave; one that wouldst be a
bawd, in way of good service, and art nothing but
the composition of a knave, beggar, coward, pandar,
and the son and heir of a mongrel bitch...”   

I think that must cover it.

Word To Use Today: knave. This word comes from the Old English cnafa, and is related to the Old High German knabo, which means boy.


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