means simply a boy. (Saxon, cniht.) As boys (like
the Latin puer and French garcon) were used as servants,
so cniht came to mean a servant. Those who served the feudal
kings bore arms, and persons admitted to this privilege were the king's
knights; as this distinction was limited to men of family, the word
became a title of honour next to the nobility. In modern Latin, a
knight is termed auratus (golden), from the gilt spurs which he
used to wear.
Last of the knights.
Maximilian I. of Germany (1459, 1493-1519).
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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