1. an attendant or servant 2. a knight’s page 3. a rascal; a knave

This is another one from David Crystal’s book, Words, Words, Words. It’s not typically used anymore, except in children’s books that take place in the Medieval period. For some reason, the Oxford American Dictionary identifies only definition 3 as “archaic,” as if the other two definitions are in common use. Neither the American Heritage Dictionary nor Merriam-Webster identify any of the definitions as archaic. Makes me wonder.

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One Response to varlet

  1. tammy says:

    hi karl,
    do you suppose the word “valet” comes from this? valets do serve in an “attendant” manner – not to be viewed as servitude, of course, but they do act as attendants to all kinds of people……hmmmm……or maybe it’s just an easy thought to remove the R and get a new word. :)
    i just looked it up in Oxford, and it reads, in part, “a man’s personal attendant (usually male) who looks after his clothes, etc.” ….. there’s more, but that’s the general idea.

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