Knight [knecht,G. and Teut., cniht, or cnyht, Saxa Servant: And so it originally signified in English; But from being used for the Servants or attendants of Kings, in their Wars, it became a Title of honour.]
a person whom the king has singled out from the common class of gentlemen, and dignified with the honour of knighthood. In antient times there were 6 particulars required in him that was to be made a Knight. 1. That he was no trader. 2. That besides other things he were not of servile condition. 3. That he should take an oath that he would not refuse to die for the sake of the gospel and his country. 4. His Sword was to be girt on by some nobleman. 5. That he should have the badge of Knighthood put upon him. And, 6thly, That he should be enrolled in the King’s Books. It was also required, that knights should be brave, undaunted, expert, provident and well behaved. Christian Kings appointed many religions ceremonies to be observed at the creation of knights, and none were admitted to the order of knights, but such as had merited the honour by some commendable and extraordinary exploits. They were antiently distinguished by a belt, a target, a sword, or some material token. But now the honour being grown cheap, these ceremonies have been laid aside, and there goes nothing now to the making of a knight in England, but the King’s touching him with a sword as he kneels, and saying, Rise up Sir R. N.

Definition taken from The Universal Etymological English Dictionary, edited by Nathan Bailey (1736)

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