Definition of knight in English:

knight

Syllabification: knight
Pronunciation: /nīt
 
/

noun

  • 1(In the Middle Ages) a man who served his sovereign or lord as a mounted soldier in armor.
    More example sentences
    • 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.
    • In 1118 he invaded Egypt, with a tiny army of only 216 knights and 400 foot soldiers.
    • The primary service was military duty as a mounted knight.
    Synonyms
    cavalier, cavalryman, horseman; lord, noble, nobleman
    historical chevalier, paladin, banneret
  • 1.1(In the Middle Ages) a man raised by a sovereign to honorable military rank after service as a page and squire.
    More example sentences
    • 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.
    • 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.
  • 1.2 literary A man devoted to the service of a woman or a cause: in all your quarrels I will be your knight
    More example sentences
    • He would become her knight and devote himself to her service, though his passion for her would rarely be consummated.
    • In other words, the colors red and white seem to represent the knight and his female beloved, respectively.
    • He was offering himself as my protector, my knight, and it moved me deeply.
  • 1.3 dated (In ancient Rome) a member of the class of equites.
    More example sentences
    • 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.
    More example sentences
    • Counts, knights, barons and marquesses gathered in the guilded ballroom of the hotel to mark the focal event of the aristocratic social calendar.
    • In 1925 Asquith accepted a peerage as Earl of Oxford and Asquith and was created a knight of the garter shortly afterwards.
    • The order became defunct with the death of its last knight, HRH The Duke of Gloucester, in 1974.
  • 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.
    More example sentences
    • In chess, if you move your knight on to a pawn's square, the pawn's a goner.
    • Indeed, the knight is the only chess piece that covers an asymmetrical pattern of squares.
    • The next day we see one grandmaster leaving a knight unprotected and another thrusting his pawn to a sure death.

verb

[with object] (usually be knighted) Back to top  
  • Invest (someone) with the title of knight.
    More example sentences
    • He was knighted in 2003 for services to public life in Scotland.
    • He was knighted in 1979 for services to disabled people and died in 1982.
    • He was knighted for services to nursing and the NHS in the Queen's Birthday Honours last year.

Phrases

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.
More example sentences
  • 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.
  • If he had known, why hadn't he ridden in like some knight in shining armor and rescued her?
Synonyms
Sir Galahad, knight on a white charger/horse/steed, rescuer, savior, champion, hero, liberator, defender, protector, guardian, guardian angel

knight of the road

informal A man who frequents the roads, for example, a traveling salesman, a vagrant, or (formerly) a highwayman.
More example sentences
  • 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.

Origin

Old English cniht 'boy, youth, servant'; related to Dutch knecht and German Knecht. 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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