Word Confusion: Knight versus Night

Posted March 28, 2016 by Kathy Davie in Author Resources, Editing, Self-Editing, Word Confusions, Writing

Knight night, everyone…oops, I meant “night, night”.

I can understand that the silent k can be a problem if one is not a reader. And if you’re not a reader, why are you writing?

Or maybe the writer was thinking of…*drum roll, please*…the Black Knight! Dum, dum, dum-dum-dummmmm… Maybe “black knight” transposed itself into “black night”, the scary dark because the knight was supposed to be scary. Okay, okay, I know I’m reaching. I’m simply trying to understand how knight can be confused with night

Word Confusions…

…started as my way of dealing with a professional frustration with properly spelled words that were out of context in manuscripts I was editing as well as books I was reviewing. It evolved into a sharing of information with y’all. I’m hoping you’ll share with us words that have been a bête noir for you from either end. Consider sharing this Word Confusion with friends by tweeting it.

Knight Night
Credit to: Apple Dictionary.com; Dictionary.com: knight and night

Head shot of a knight in shining armor

Image by Saffron Blaze (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

David Cadle takes the part of a knight in a re-enactment of the Battle of Tewkesbury.

Looking from off shore at the forest at night

Image Bb Randi Hausken from Bærum, Norway[CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

A night in the forest.

Part of Grammar:
Noun; Verb, transitive

Plural for the Noun & Third person present verb: knights
Past tense or past participle: knighted
Gerund or present participle: knighting

Adjective; Exclamation; Noun
[In the Middle Ages] A man who served his sovereign or lord as a mounted soldier in armor.

  • [In the Middle Ages] A man raised by a sovereign to honorable military rank after service as a page and squire
  • [Literary] A man devoted to the service of a woman or a cause
  • [Dated; in ancient Rome] A member of the class of equites
  • [In ancient Greece] A citizen of the second class in Athens
  • A member of any order or association that designates its members as knights

[In the UK] a man upon whom the nonhereditary dignity of knighthood is conferred by a sovereign because of personal merit or for services rendered to the country 1

[Chess] A game piece, typically with its top shaped like a horse’s head, that moves by jumping to the opposite corner of a rectangle two squares by three

[Nautical] A short vertical timber having on its head a sheave through which running rigging is rove

  • Any other fitting or erection bearing such a sheave

Verb, transitive:
Invest or dub (someone) with the title of knight

Of or relating to night:

  • Occurring, appearing, or seen at night
  • Used or designed to be used at night
  • Working at night
  • Active at night

[Informal] Short for good night

The period of darkness in each twenty-four hours
The time from sunset to sunrise

  • The night as the interval between two days
  • The darkness of night
  • [Literary] Nightfall

The period of time between afternoon and bedtime

An evening

  • An evening appointed for some activity, or spent or regarded in a certain way
In all your quarrels I will be your knight.

In Great Britain today, a knight holds the rank next below that of a baronet, and the title Sir is prefixed to the Christian name, as in Sir John Smith.

Dame Laura, 1887–1970, was a British painter noted for her paintings of Gypsies, the ballet, and the circus.

I keep hoping my knight in shining armor will appear, sigh…

A knight on a white charger shall appear and defeat the dragon.

He’s a knight of the road, old son.

In ancient Rome, a knight, originally a member of the cavalry and later of a political and administrative class as well as of the equestrian order were drawn from the senatorial class and were called equites equo publico or horsemen whose mounts were provided for by the public (Encyclopædia Britannica).

When the knight is in the center of the board, it can move to 8 different squares.

Verb, transitive:
Paul McCartney was knighted by the queen.

I dub thee Sir Charles said the king as he knighted him on the battlefield.

the night hours

He led the night raid.

Moonflowers are night bloomers.

If we take a night coach, we won’t waste the daylight hours.

The night entrance is manned by two guards.

I’m a night nurse, so it’s difficult to date.

John is on the night shift.

We can use the night depository at the bank.

The Aedes africanus mosquitoes are night feeders, preferentially taking blood meals from monkeys (Singh, Ruzek, 511).

Night-night, honey.

It was a moonless night and perfect for luring ships onto the rocks.

The office door is always locked at night.

A two-bedroom cabin costs $90 per night.

Somebody put him up for the night.

A line of watchfires stretched away into the night.

It was nightfall before she appeared.

He was not allowed to go out on weekday nights.

Wasn’t it a great night out?

She worked night and day until the work was done.

We might as well call it a night.

Burglars tend to work in the dead of night.

They were merely ships passing in the night.

Adjective: knightless, unknighted
Noun: knighthood
Adjective: nightless, nightlike
Adverb: nightlessly
History of the Word:
Old English cniht meaning boy, youth, servant is related to the Dutch knecht and the German Knecht.

1 Dates from the mid-16th century

The uses relating to Greek and Roman history derive from comparison with medieval knights.

Old English neaht or niht is of Germanic origin and related to the Dutch nacht and German Nacht, from an Indo-European root shared by the Latin nox and the Greek nux.

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C’mon, get it out of your system, bitch, whine, moan…which words are your pet peeves?