- A military servant of a king or other feudal superior; tenant holding land on condition that he serve his superior as a mounted man-at-arms.
- Later, a man, usually one of high birth, who after serving as page and squire was formally raised to special military rank and pledged to chivalrous conduct.
An example of a knight was Sir Lancelot, who was a knight in King Arthur's Court.
An example of a knight is Sir Elton John, who was knighted by the Queen of England.
When the queen of England honored Sir Elton John for his contributions to music and made him a "knight," this is an example of the Queen doing the act of knighting him.
Origin of knight
- Middle English from Old English cniht
From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition
- From Middle English knight, kniht, from Old English cniht, cneht, cneoht (“boy, youth, servant, attendant, retainer, disciple, warrior, boyhood, junior member of a guild”), from Proto-Germanic *knehtaz (compare Dutch knecht (“attendant, servant”), German Knecht (“lad, slave”)), originally ‘billet (wood), block of wood’ (compare Dutch laarzeknecht (“boot-jack”), dialectal German Knüchtel (“bat, club”), from Proto-Indo-European *gnegʰ-, from *gen- ‘to ball up, pinch, compress’.
- From Middle English knighten, kniȝten, from the noun. Cognate with Middle High German knehten.