Also found in: Thesaurus, Idioms, Encyclopedia.


a. A medieval tenant giving military service as a mounted man-at-arms to a feudal landholder.
b. A medieval gentleman-soldier, usually high-born, raised by a sovereign to privileged military status after training as a page and squire.
c. A man holding a nonhereditary title conferred by a sovereign in recognition of personal merit or service to the country.
2. A man belonging to an order or brotherhood.
a. A defender, champion, or zealous upholder of a cause or principle.
b. The devoted champion of a lady.
4. Abbr. Kt or N Games A chess piece, usually in the shape of a horse's head, that can be moved two squares along a rank and one along a file or two squares along a file and one along a rank. The knight is the only piece that can jump other pieces to land on an open square.
tr.v. knight·ed, knight·ing, knights
To raise (a person) to knighthood.

[Middle English, from Old English cniht.]

knight′ly adj. & adv.
knight′li·ness n.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.knightliness - the medieval principles governing knighthood and knightly conduct
principle - a rule or standard especially of good behavior; "a man of principle"; "he will not violate his principles"
References in periodicals archive ?
Ostensibly, Knightliness just surpasses the power of a Pawn, but the Knight's relative inferiority is deceptive, as Staunton grants that this piece's movement is "different altogether from that of any of the other Chess-men" (36).
In 1931, Weizmann said that he was a danger for the Zionists and for world Jewry, but he once described Jabotinsky as "rather ugly, immensely attractive, well-spoken, warm-hearted, generous--a certain queer and irrelevant knightliness." Weizmann's wife, Vera, admired Jabotinsky's charm, his personality, his ability, and his wide knowledge of history and world affairs.
Benson's ideal British soldier was a latter day Knight: "The young Christian soldier, high-hearted and courageous, who regards a great fight not as the carrying out of a brutal and aggressive programme, but as a great and noble adventure, may still be a worthy example of knightliness and stainless valour, who is willing, if need be, to make the last sacrifice of love, and to lay down his life for his friends." Benson's chivalric hero was not degraded by the violence of war, but elevated by a struggle cast in the religious-nationalist terms of what he perceived as British righteousness versus German immorality.