One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1(in the Middle Ages) a man who served his sovereign or lord as a mounted soldier in armor.
chevalier, cavalier, cavalryman, horseman, equestrianView synonyms
- ‘Heraldry originated in medieval warfare and tournaments when it was necessary to identify knights who were completely covered in armour.’
- ‘In times past, teenagers could lead armies in battle and young pages could be made knights as early as age 12.’
- ‘The primary service was military duty as a mounted knight.’
- ‘The crossbow was really the first hand-held weapon that could be used by an untrained soldier to injure or kill a knight in plate armour.’
- ‘The Order of the Knights Templar was formed during the crusades when many knights and squires set out for the Holy Land.’
- ‘This was true of knights, nobles and princes - all ranks of the feudal aristocracy produced younger sons prepared to maintain rank through military force.’
- ‘The land taken - and taken is the word - by the Anglo-Normans, was divided up in the usual way and given to their knights, as reward for military service.’
- ‘The feudal system meant that knights had to provide the king with soldiers when the king demanded them.’
- ‘These were made up of ‘feudal’ levies, in which the knight owed service to his lord in return for land.’
- ‘The Earl of Salisbury and almost all of the English knights were killed.’
- ‘Usually, a minor knight might hold a few acres from a baron, who in turn held the land from a count or earl, who in turn held large tracts of the king.’
- ‘The count of that land, Theobald, hosted a grand event that was attended by knights from all over northern France.’
- ‘Pages helped arm and maintain the knights of medieval Europe, while drummer boys were a requisite part of any 18th century army.’
- ‘In 1118 he invaded Egypt, with a tiny army of only 216 knights and 400 foot soldiers.’
- ‘At Crécy they decisively repulsed a mounted charge by French knights.’
- ‘The military orders, and the knights under King John put up a valiant defense and saved what they could of the army.’
- ‘The barons mobilized every man they could and put six hundred knights into the field.’
- ‘Few castles can boast the historic pedigree of Cathcart, which dates back to the days of Sir Alan Cathcart, a knight who served with Robert the Bruce.’
- ‘By November, Godfrey could command only about three hundred knights and a few thousand foot soldiers.’
- ‘When they rode past their king, knights raised their visors to identify themselves.’
- 1.1 (in the Middle Ages) a man raised by a sovereign to honorable military rank after service as a page and squire.
- ‘England's wars, waged successfully by humble bowmen as well as knights and noblemen, created among all ranks a self-confidence that warmed English hearts.’
- ‘In return for this, William generously made the great English earl a Norman knight.’
- ‘This permanent body of knights, squires and other laymen was now more often centred on the chamber, the more private space around the ruler, rather than the large communal hall.’
- 1.2literary A man devoted to the service of a woman or a cause.‘in all your quarrels I will be your knight’
- ‘He would become her knight and devote himself to her service, though his passion for her would rarely be consummated.’
- ‘He was offering himself as my protector, my knight, and it moved me deeply.’
- ‘In other words, the colors red and white seem to represent the knight and his female beloved, respectively.’
- ‘In one of Chaucer's earliest poems, The Book of the Duchess, a knight is overheard in the forest lamenting the death of his lady.’
- 1.3 (in ancient Rome) a member of the class of equites.
- ‘The knight or Miles was the lowest of the military elite, a well equipped and well trained fighting man similar to the Saxon thegn or huscarl.’
- 1.4 (in ancient Greece) a citizen of the second class in Athens.
2(in the UK) a man awarded a nonhereditary title by the sovereign in recognition of merit or service and entitled to use the honorific “Sir” in front of his name.
- ‘In 1925 Asquith accepted a peerage as Earl of Oxford and Asquith and was created a knight of the garter shortly afterwards.’
- ‘Counts, knights, barons and marquesses gathered in the guilded ballroom of the hotel to mark the focal event of the aristocratic social calendar.’
- ‘Leading the North Yorkshire awards in the Queen's Birthday Honours list, published today, is the county's newest knight, Sir Robert Ogden.’
- ‘The order became defunct with the death of its last knight, HRH The Duke of Gloucester, in 1974.’
- ‘Top tip for Birthday Honours - Timothy West will become a knight of the realm.’
3A chess piece, typically with its top shaped like a horse's head, that moves by jumping to the opposite corner of a rectangle two squares by three.
- ‘The next day we see one grandmaster leaving a knight unprotected and another thrusting his pawn to a sure death.’
- ‘He moved his knight forward and deftly captured one of her pawns.’
- ‘Indeed, the knight is the only chess piece that covers an asymmetrical pattern of squares.’
- ‘Jerome rubbed his chin, and after a few minutes of thought, moved his knight, capturing Adam's last bishop.’
- ‘In chess, if you move your knight on to a pawn's square, the pawn's a goner.’
Invest (someone) with the title of knight.
knight, bestow a knighthood on, confer a knighthood on, invest with a knighthoodView synonyms
- ‘Sir Howard was knighted last year, largely for helping bring the Commonwealth Games to Manchester.’
- ‘The Queen knighted him in 1988 as a reward for his long service to her.’
- ‘She turned the school around and in 2001 she was knighted for her services to education.’
- ‘Both Hillary and Hunt were knighted by the queen following the expedition.’
- ‘He received numerous honours, including the OBE in 1961, and he was knighted in 1974.’
- ‘A founder member of the National Portrait Society in 1911, he was knighted in 1936.’
- ‘He is the only Australian to have been knighted for services to cricket.’
- ‘He was knighted for services to nursing and the NHS in the Queen's Birthday Honours last year.’
- ‘He was knighted in 1979 for services to disabled people and died in 1982.’
- ‘In 1942 he was knighted, no doubt partly due to his heroic service to his country during both wars.’
- ‘His many supporters cannot understand why he has not been knighted.’
- ‘He was knighted for this work in 1911, but was forced to retire from foreign service due to adverse affects of the tropics on his health.’
- ‘Wilkie became an associate and then a member of the Royal Academy while very young; he was knighted and made a painter to the King.’
- ‘But it was for his successful plundering of Spanish merchant ships that he was knighted.’
- ‘Somerset's early career was in Wolsey's service and he was knighted in France in 1523.’
- ‘In 1983 he married a daughter of the Duke of Norfolk and he was knighted in 1993.’
- ‘He was knighted in 2003 for services to public life in Scotland.’
- ‘He was knighted in 1671 by Charles II, and lies buried in the church of St Peter Mancroft, Norwich.’
- ‘Norman Wisdom proved he had earned a place in the nation's heart after being knighted by the Queen at Buckingham Palace.’
- ‘Lean was nominated for Oscars for directing, adapting and editing the film, and in June 1984 he was knighted.’
knight in shining armor (or knight on a white charger)
An idealized or chivalrous man who comes to the rescue of a woman in a difficult situation.
sir galahad, knight on a white charger, protector, rescuer, saviour, preserver, champion, defender, guardian, guardian angel, deliverer, liberatorView synonyms
- ‘Maybe a knight in shining armour will come forward to assist half a million pensioners worldwide.’
- ‘Unlike many would-be damsels in distress, I never imagined myself being rescued by a knight in shining armor.’
- ‘Theirs is a fairy-tale romance, with her knowing from the beginning that they are fated to be together, and him coming to her rescue like a knight in shining armor.’
- ‘He was always so protective of me… always my knight in shining armor when we were children.’
- ‘If he had known, why hadn't he ridden in like some knight in shining armor and rescued her?’
- ‘It's no use waiting for a knight in shining armour to ride in and sweep you off your feet.’
- ‘After years of indoctrination by sappy romance stories and fairy tales, girls want to be swept off their feet by a knight in shining armor.’
- ‘If you are a woman, you may identify a little more with the concept of the ideal man, the knight in shining armour, the one who will sweep us off our feet and change our lives for ever.’
- ‘And although he had always maintained that there was no such thing as a knight in shining armour, he had still come to Julie's rescue readily enough.’
- ‘Her husband rushed into the kitchen, and like that proverbial knight in shining armor, took over from that point on.’
knight of the road
informal A man who frequents the roads, for example, a traveling salesman, a vagrant, or (formerly) a highwayman.
- ‘It began with the hauliers, those mild-mannered knights of the road who would no more dream of driving aggressively than of cancelling their subscription to New Internationalist magazine.’
- ‘However, the true attitude of these knights of the road was explained by one cabbie last week.’
Old English cniht ‘boy, youth, servant’, of West Germanic origin; related to Dutch knecht and German Knecht. knight (sense 2 of the noun) dates from the mid 16th century; the uses relating to Greek and Roman history derive from comparison with medieval knights.
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