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KNAVE. A false, dishonest, or deceitful person. This signification of the word has arisen by a long perversion of its original meaning.
     2. To call a man a knave has been held to be actionable. 1 Rolle's Ab. 52; 1 Freem. 277.,

References in classic literature ?
So, leaving word with the shopman on what day I was wanted at Miss Havisham's again, I set off on the four-mile walk to our forge; pondering, as I went along, on all I had seen, and deeply revolving that I was a common labouring-boy; that my hands were coarse; that my boots were thick; that I had fallen into a despicable habit of calling knaves Jacks; that I was much more ignorant than I had considered myself last night, and generally that I was in a low-lived bad way.
Now, chance ordained that the master hosier of Ghent, with whom the people were already in lively sympathy, and upon whom all eyes were riveted--should come and seat himself in the front row of the gallery, directly above the mendicant; and people were not a little amazed to see the Flemish ambassador, on concluding his inspection of the knave thus placed beneath his eyes, bestow a friendly tap on that ragged shoulder.
The novelty of this singular scene excited such a murmur of mirth and gayety in the hall, that the cardinal was not slow to perceive it; he half bent forward, and, as from the point where he was placed he could catch only an imperfect view of Trouillerfou's ignominious doublet, he very naturally imagined that the mendicant was asking alms, and, disgusted with his audacity, he exclaimed: "Bailiff of the Courts, toss me that knave into the river
The old minister listened attentively to their words, in order that he might repeat them to the Emperor; and then the knaves asked for more silk and gold, saying that it was necessary to complete what they had begun.
In France, a knave is dressed like a fop; and in the northern countries, like a sloven.
Then followed the Knave of Hearts, carrying the King's crown on a crimson velvet cushion; and, last of all this grand procession, came THE KING AND QUEEN OF HEARTS.
She said it to the Knave of Hearts, who only bowed and smiled in reply.
Then take here my working-bag and my good hammer too; and if I light upon that knave I will soon come back after them.
cried he, "whither hath that knave gone that was with me but now?
But as for this same knave Robin Hood, I go straightway to seek him, and if I do not score his knave's pate, cut my staff into fagots and call me woman.
And thinking to bring shame on Goldboru, and wed her with a kitchen knave, he sent for Havelok.
If it had not been a characteristic of Levin's to put the most favorable interpretation on people, Sviazhsky's character would have presented no doubt or difficulty to him: he would have said to himself, "a fool or a knave," and everything would have seemed clear.