Definition of knight in English:

knight

Line breaks: knight
Pronunciation: /nʌɪt
 
/

noun

1(In the Middle Ages) a man who served his sovereign or lord as a mounted soldier in armour.
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
chevalier, cavalier, cavalryman, horseman, equestrian;
lord, noble, nobleman
1.1(In the Middle Ages) a man raised by a sovereign to honourable 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 (also knight of the shire) historical A gentleman representing a shire or county in Parliament.
More example sentences
  • Cumberland, like the other counties, sent two knights of the shire to Parliament.
  • The sort of men who got themselves chosen to be knights of the shire in the late thirteenth century were exactly the sort of men who always had attended the great political assemblies.
  • He was knight of the shire for Kent in 1386 and probably lived in Kent for most of the rest of his life.
1.3 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.
2(In the UK) a man awarded a non-hereditary title by the sovereign in recognition of merit or service and entitled to use the honorificSirin 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. Each player starts the game with two knights.
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.
4(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.
4.1(In ancient Greece) a citizen of the second class in Athens, called hippeus in Greek.

verb

[with object] Back to top  
Invest (someone) with the title of knight: he was knighted for his services to industry
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.

Origin

Old English cniht 'boy, youth, servant', of West Germanic origin; 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.

Phrases

knight in shining armour (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

knight of the road

informal A man who frequents the roads, for example a travelling sales representative, tramp, 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.

Definition of knight in: