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"Knave" in OED

Posted by Dennis on December 19, 2002

In Reply to: "Knave" in OED posted by R. Berg on December 09, 2002

: : : : : Can anyone help me with the meaning / origin the phrase *hit the jackpot*

: : : : : thanks in advance.

: : : : You "hit the jackpot" when you suddenly get a lot of money. Jackpot, according to the dictionary:
: : : : Main Entry: jack·pot
: : : : Pronunciation: 'jak-"pät
: : : : Function: noun
: : : : Date: 1881
: : : : 1 a : a hand or game of draw poker in which a pair of jacks or better is required to open : a large pot (as in poker) formed by the accumulation of stakes from previous play b : a combination on a slot machine that wins a top prize or all the coins available for paying out : the sum so won c : a large fund of money or other reward formed by the accumulation of unwon prizes
: : : : 2 : an impressive often unexpected success or reward

: : : : My question to our UK posters: in the US, jacks in a deck of cards have never been called knaves (except perhaps in the nursery rhyme where the knave of hearts stole some tarts) ... in the UK, are knaves still knaves? Has "jacks" taken over? Is this something changing over time?

: : : They are overwhelmingly 'Jacks' - 'Knaves' is used in much the same way as in the US.

: : Was "knaves" used in the 19th century? 18th?

: OED:
: Knave = boy: quotations from 11th through 15th centuries; obs.
: Knave = male servant or one of "low condition": 11th through 19th c.; now archaic.
: Knave = unprincipled man, rogue: 13th through 19th c.
: Knave = playing card "bearing the representation of a soldier or servant": 13th through 19th c.

I've played cards a lot in England and never heard anyone use the word knave. On the other hand it must have been the (or a) middle-class usage in the mid-19th century: in "Great Expectations", working-class Pip is taunted by being told (from memory) "He's an ignorant little boy: he calls the knaves jacks"

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