The Collaborative International Dictionary
Varlet \Var"let\, n. [OF. varlet, vaslet, vallet, servant, young man, young noble, dim of vassal. See Vassal, and cf. Valet.]
A servant, especially to a knight; an attendant; a valet; a footman. [Obs.]
Hence, a low fellow; a scoundrel; a rascal; as, an impudent varlet.
What a brazen-faced varlet art thou !
In a pack of playing cards, the court card now called the knave, or jack. [Obs.]
n. 1 (context obsolete English) A servant or attendant. 2 (context historical English) Specifically, a youth acting as a knight's attendant at the beginning of his training for knighthood. 3 (context archaic English) A rogue or scoundrel. 4 (context obsolete cards English) The jack.
Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary
mid-15c., "servant, attendant of a knight," from Middle French varlet (14c.), variant of vaslet, originally "squire, young man," from Old French vassal (see vassal). The meaning "rascal, rogue" is 1540s.
Varlet can refer to:
- Knight's squire
- Valet de chambre, a court appointment introduced in the late Middle Ages
- Rogue (vagrant) or unprincipled person
Usage examples of "varlet".
I was dressed so that Spinnel had no way of telling whether I was a miscellaneous Nobel laureate that Hawk happened to have been dining with, or a varlet whose manners and morals were even lower than mine happen to be.
Don Quixote shouted even louder, calling them perfidious traitors and saying that the lord of the castle was a varlet and a discourteous knight for allowing knights errant to be so badly treated, and that if he had already received the order of chivalry, he would enlighten him as to the full extent of his treachery.
For if half of what is said of England is true, the place is full of runagates, Vagabonds, highwaymen, and varlets of all stripes.
Bands of armed men clanked along the highway, and the few lines of laden mules which carried the merchandise of the trader were guarded by armed varlets, or by archers hired for the service.
Thou presumest and thinkest, thou trifling boy, thou Varlet, and without all reverence, that thou art most worthy and excellent, and that I am not able by reason of myne age to have another son, which if I should have, thou shouldst well understand that I would beare a more worthier than thou.
He rode to the august structure of retributive Themis, as the French call a gallows, in all the pride and pomp of shrievalty, and with a splendid retinue of well-equipped knaves and varlets, as our ancestors called honest serving-men.
I came by a wrestling, where I found a good yeoman wrongfully beset by a crowd of sturdy varlets, and I staid to do him right.
Two russet-clad varlets, with loud halloo and cracking whips, walked thigh-deep amid the swarm, guiding, controlling, and urging.
We may leave our horses here with the varlets, and push forward with our squires.
Slowly the long and glittering train wound into the lists, until every horse had been tethered by the varlets in waiting, and every lord and lady seated in the long stands which stretched, rich in tapestry and velvet and blazoned arms, on either side of the centre of the arena.
Then on the morrow, if he made complaint, this wicked Gourval would throw him out upon the road or beat him, for he was a very lusty man, and had many stout varlets in his service.
Instead of being beaten and reviled, he was surrounded by varlets and attendants.
Stripped of the cunning artifices of the tailor, and standing forth in the garb of Eden--what a sorry, set of round-shouldered, spindle-shanked, crane-necked varlets would civilized men appear!
He heard, however, the horrid chime above his head, the diabolical laugh of the Canters, and the voice of Trouillefou, who said, "Pick up the varlet, and hang him out of hand.
If Webb wants faith and honesty in an Indian, let him bring out the tribes of the Delawares, and send these greedy and lying Mohawks and Oneidas, with their six nations of varlets, where in nature they belong, among the French!