A knight is a person granted an honorary title of knighthood by a monarch or other political leader for service to the monarch or country, especially in a military capacity. Historically, in Europe, knighthood was conferred upon mounted warriors. During the High Middle Ages, knighthood was considered a class of lower nobility. By the Late Middle Ages, the rank had become associated with the ideals of chivalry, a code of conduct for the perfect courtly Christian warrior. Often, a knight was a vassal who served as a fighter for a lord, with payment in the form of land holdings and food from serfs. The lords trusted the knights, who were skilled in battle on horseback. Since the early modern period, the title of knight is purely honorific, usually bestowed by a monarch, as in the British honours system, often for non-military service to the country. The modern female equivalent in the United Kingdom is Dame.
Historically, the ideals of chivalry were popularized in medieval literature, especially the Matter of Britain and Matter of France, the former based on Geoffrey of Monmouth's Historia Regum Britanniae ("History of the Kings of Britain"), written in the 1130s. Sir Thomas Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur ("The Death of Arthur"), written in 1485, was important in defining the ideal of chivalry, which is essential to the modern concept of the knight, as an elite warrior sworn to uphold the values of faith, loyalty, courage, and honour. Furthermore, Geoffroi de Charny's " Book of Chivalry" expounded upon the importance of Christian faith in every area of a knight's life. During the Renaissance, the genre of chivalric romance became popular in literature, growing ever more idealistic and eventually giving rise to a new form of realism in literature popularised by Miguel de Cervantes' Don Quixote. This novel explored the ideals of knighthood and their incongruity with the reality of Cervantes' world. In the late medieval period, new methods of warfare began to render classical knights in armour obsolete, but the titles remained in many nations.
Some orders of knighthood, such as the Knights Templar, have become the subject of legend; others have disappeared into obscurity. Today, a number of orders of knighthood continue to exist in several countries, such as the English Order of the Garter, the Swedish Royal Order of the Seraphim, and the Royal Norwegian Order of St. Olav. Each of these orders has its own criteria for eligibility, but knighthood is generally granted by a head of state to selected persons to recognise some meritorious achievement.
Knighthood in the Middle Ages was closely linked with horsemanship (and especially the joust) from its origins in the 12th century until its final flowering as a fashion among the high nobility in the Duchy of Burgundy in the 15th century. This linkage is reflected in the etymology of chivalry, cavalier and related terms (see Etymology section below). The special prestige accorded to mounted warriors finds a parallel in the furusiyya in the Muslim world, and the Greek hippeus (ἱππεύς) and Roman eques of classical antiquity.
The knight (♘ ♞) is a piece in the game of chess, representing a knight (armored cavalry). It is normally represented by a horse's head and neck. Each player starts with two knights, which begin on the row closest to the player, one square from each corner.
Knight is a social position and honour originating in the Middle Ages.
Knight may also refer to:
Knight is a surname. Notable persons with that surname include:
Knight (1802 cricketer)
Knight (first name and dates unknown) was an English first-class cricketer associated with Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) who was active in the 1800s. He is recorded in one match, totalling 46 runs with a highest score of 39 not out.
Percival Sheldrake debuted as the Knight in Batman #62 (December 1950), and was created by Bill Finger and Dick Sprang. Cyril Sheldrake debuted as the Knight in JLA #26 (February 1999), and was created by Grant Morrison and Howard Porter. Beryl Hutchinson first appeared as Squire in the same issue, and became the Knight in Batman Incorporated v2 #09 (March 2013).
Knight (playing card)
A knight or cavalier is a playing card with a picture of a man riding a horse on it. It is a face card and is called caballo in Spanish playing cards and cavallo in Italian playing cards. In these decks, it ranks between the knave and the king within its suit. Among French playing cards, the knight (chevalier) can only be found in tarot decks. In Latin and French suited tarot decks, the knight ranks between the knave and the queen.
Knights do not appear in German or Swiss playing cards; their place being occupied by an upper knave face card called the Ober. One exception is the Württemberg pattern where the Obers are seen riding on horses. This depiction was inspired by Cego tarot decks during the 19th century.
The Collaborative International Dictionary
Knight \Knight\, n. [OE. knight, cniht, knight, soldier, AS. cniht, cneoht, a boy, youth, attendant, military follower; akin to D. & G. knecht servant; perh. akin to E. kin.]
A young servant or follower; a military attendant. [Obs.]
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.
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. [Eng.] Hence:
A champion; a partisan; a lover. ``Give this ring to my true knight.'' Shak ``In all your quarrels will I be your knight.''
Knights, by their oaths, should right poor ladies' harms.
Note: Formerly, when a knight's name was not known, it was customary to address him as Sir Knight. The rank of a knight is not hereditary.
A piece used in the game of chess, usually bearing a horse's head.
A playing card bearing the figure of a knight; the knave or jack. [Obs.]
Carpet knight. See under Carpet.
Knight of industry. See Chevalier d'industrie, under Chevalier.
Knight of Malta, Knight of Rhodes, Knight of St. John of Jerusalem. See Hospitaler.
Knight of the post, one who gained his living by giving false evidence on trials, or false bail; hence, a sharper in general.
--Nares. ``A knight of the post, . . . quoth he, for so I am termed; a fellow that will swear you anything for twelve pence.''
Knight of the shire, in England, one of the representatives of a county in Parliament, in distinction from the representatives of cities and boroughs.
Knights commanders, Knights grand cross, different classes of the Order of the Bath. See under Bath, and Companion.
Knights of labor, a secret organization whose professed purpose is to secure and maintain the rights of workingmen as respects their relations to their employers. [U. S.]
Knights of Pythias, a secret order, founded in Washington, D. C., in 1864, for social and charitable purposes.
Knights of the Round Table, knights belonging to an order which, according to the legendary accounts, was instituted by the mythical King Arthur. They derived their common title from the table around which they sat on certain solemn days.
--Brande & C.
Knight \Knight\, v. t. [imp. & p. p. Knighted; p. pr. & vb. n.
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
A soldier, by the honor-giving hand
Of C[oe]ur-de-Lion knighted in the field.
Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary
Old English cniht "boy, youth; servant, attendant," common West Germanic (cognates: Old Frisian kniucht, Dutch knecht, Middle High German kneht "boy, youth, lad," German Knecht "servant, bondman, vassal"), of unknown origin. The plural in Middle English sometimes was knighten. Meaning "military follower of a king or other superior" is from c.1100. Began to be used in a specific military sense in Hundred Years War, and gradually rose in importance until it became a rank in the nobility 16c. The chess piece so called from mid-15c. Knight in shining armor in figurative sense is from 1917, from the man who rescues the damsel in distress in romantic dramas (perhaps especially "Lohengrin"). Knights of Columbus, society of Catholic men, founded 1882 in New Haven, Connecticut, U.S.; Knights of Labor, trade union association, founded in Philadelphia, 1869; Knights of Pythias, secret order, founded in Washington, 1864.
"to make a knight of (someone)," early 13c., from knight (n.). Related: Knighted; knighting.
Etymology 1 n. 1 A warrior, especially of the Middle Ages. 2 A young servant or follower; a military attendant. 3 Nowadays, a person on whom a knighthood has been conferred by a monarch. 4 (context chess English) 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. 5 (context card games dated English) A playing card bearing the figure of a knight; the knave or jack. Etymology 2
vb. 1 (context transitive English) To confer knighthood upon. 2 (context chess transitive English) To promote (a pawn) to a knight.
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
a chessman in the shape of a horse's head; can move two squares horizontally and one vertically (or vice versa) [syn: horse]
v. raise (someone) to knighthood; "The Beatles were knighted" [syn: dub]
Usage examples of "knight".
According to it, the Franks, uniting with the barons of Antioch and its fiefs, abetted by certain Knights Templars and whatever forces could be recruited in Tripoli and Jerusalem, would go against Islam in the east and north, rescue Edessa, and repair the bulwarks of Antioch against the danger of invasion.
But this knight hath no affairs to look to: so if he will abide with us for a little, it will be our pleasure.
Then the courage came into his body, and with a great might he abraid upon his feet, and smote the black and yellow knight upon the helm by an overstroke so fierce that the sword sheared away the third part of his head, as it had been a rotten cheese.
He thought it desperate to tarry, 115 And venture to be accessary But rather wisely slip his fetters, And leave them for the Knight, his betters.
Tickets for the Knights to attend the final, formal, farewell banquet of the American Tonsil, Adenoid and Vas Deferens Society had been obtained for them, and Horsey wanted to make sure their appearance would bring prestige to the occasion.
The Knight and Sancho, as the great work closes, know exactly who they are, not so much by their adventures as through their marvelous conversations, be they quarrels or exchanges of insights.
I shall tell thee the boon that I would ask of thee and thy generosity has granted me, and it is that on the morrow thou wilt dub me a knight, and that this night in the chapel of thy castle I shall keep vigil over my armor, and on the morrow, as I have said, what I fervently desire will be accomplished so that I can, as I needs must do, travel the four corners of the earth in search of adventures on behalf of those in need, this being the office of chivalry and of knights errant, for I am one of them and my desire is disposed to such deeds.
Don Quixote found himself a knight, ready to sally forth in search of adventures, and he saddled Rocinante and mounted him, and, embracing his host, he said such strange things to him as he thanked him for the boon of having dubbed him a knight that it is not possible to adequately recount them.
Senor Archbishop Turpin, it is a great discredit to those of us called the Twelve Peers to do nothing more and allow the courtier knights victory in this tourney, when we, the knights who seek adventures, have won glory on the three previous days.
I am called Don Quixote of La Mancha, knight errant in search of adventures, and captive of the beauteous and peerless Dona Dulcinea of Toboso, and as recompense for the boon thou hast received from me, I desire only that thou turnest toward Toboso, and on my behalf appearest before this lady and sayest unto her what deeds I have done to gain thy liberty.
I cannot contravene the order of knights errant, about whom I know it is true, not having read anything to the contrary, that they never paid for their lodging or anything else in any inn where they stayed, because whatever welcome they receive is owed to them as their right and privi-lege in return for the unbearable hardships they suffer as they seek adventures by night and by day, in winter and in summer, on foot and on horseback, suffering thirst and hunger, heat and cold, and exposed to all the inclemencies of heaven and all the discomforts on earth.
How is it possible that any human mind could be persuaded that there has existed in the world that infinity of Amadises, and that throng of so many famous knights, so many emperors of Trebizond, so many Felixmartes of Hyrcania, so many palfreys and wandering damsels, so many serpents and dragons and giants, so many unparalleled adventures and different kinds of enchantments, so many battles and fierce encounters, so much splendid attire, so many enamored princesses and squires who are counts and dwarves who are charming, so many love letters, so much wooing, so many valiant women, and, finally, so many nonsensical matters as are contained in books of chivalry?
Because I want you to know, Sancho, that there is no profession more dangerous than that of adventuring knight.
Because wanting to convince anyone that there was no Amadis in the world or any of the adventuring knights who fill the histories, is the same as trying to persuade that person that the sun does not shine, ice is not cold, and the earth bears no crops, for what mind in the world can persuade another that the story of Princess Floripes and Guy de Bourgogne is not true, or the tale of Fierabras and the Bridge of Mantible, which occurred in the time of Charlemagne, and is as true as the fact that it is now day?
The Knights who rode guard on the carriage shouted in surprise as the two tumbled to the street, but they were no more adventurous than the ones inside.