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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.,

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
References in classic literature ?
"You have uttered a reply, knave, which deserves the halter.
two gentlemen among these knaves! Aiglet de Soins, Hutin de Mailly Two equerries, Corpus Christi !
``Go to, knave, how so?'' said Cedric, his features prepared to receive favourably the expected jest.
``Send these loitering knaves up hither,'' said the Saxon, impatiently.
The Queen turned angrily away from him, and said to the Knave
These clothes even that I wear are the cook's, and I am his knave."
Nay, he said, 'I have a son, a full fair knave, He shall England all have, He shall be king, he shall be sire.'"
"What knave meaneth Your Worship?" quoth the landlord, calling the Tinker Worship to soothe him, as a man would pour oil upon angry water.
Now, I have a right round piece of a mind to crack thy knave's pate for thee!" Then he took up his cudgel and looked at the landlord as though he would smite him where he stood.
The unseemly sight of their mass killing is often caught in the streets by shocked bystanders and animal rights activists and the knave, stone-hearted authorities are just too unmoved by their plight.
Kent calls Oswald a "hundred-pound knave." A hundred pounds would have been a considerable sum in 1606, much more than a Jacobean serving man could be expected to have to his name.
The inconsistency is that while the knave claims he is only there because his wristwatch has the wrong time, the "facts of the case" state that, as a playing card, the Knave has neither tendons nor joints.