Commonly Confused Words: Knight vs. Night

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What does each word mean?

In the Middle Ages, a knight was someone who trained in arms and chivalry and served his King or Lord. 

Today, in Great Britain, men are awarded knighthoods by the monarch as an honour for contributions to their fields. A knight is also a chess piece that is shaped like a horse. 

Here is knight used in some example sentences:

  • Have you read Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
  • He was given a knighthood for services to education. 
  • She would have to sacrifice her knight in order to win the game. 

Look up knight in the Spellzone dictionary.   

Night is the time between sunset and sunrise when it is dark outside.
Here is night used in some example sentences:

  • I woke up in the night
  • She was working the nightshift. 

Look up night in the Spellzone dictionary.  

Where does each word come from?

Knight comes from the Old English ‘cniht’ meaning ‘boy servant or attendant’. The word has been used to describe a ‘military follower of the king’ since around 1100 and the horse-shaped chess piece since the mid-fifteenth century.

Night comes from the late Old English ‘niht’ meaning ‘dark part of the day’. Like the word night today, ‘niht’ was also used metaphorically to describe a period of ignorance or immorality. 


Are there any tricks to help remember the difference between knight and night?

  • Think of knights serving a king to help you remember that knight begins with a k, for example: King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. 
  • Think of night as not day to help you remember that it begins with an n

Both knight and night are spelt with a silent g. Learn more about words with silent letters in Unit 22

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17 May 2022
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