“Then, Saunder, sit there, the lyingest knave in Christendom. If thou hadst been born blind, thou mightest as well have known all our names as thus to name the several colours we do wear” (King Henry VI.part 2. act 2 sc. 1)
Tip for Use. Excellent way to tell a liar that he is one such (“You are the the lyingest knave in Christendom”). Humor always risks death when explained. Still, in the instance, that impossible but understandable superlative (‘lyingest’), makes the insult amusing. Along with bringing in ‘Christendom’ as a synonym for ‘civilized world’, while indirectly pointing to the breaking of the eighth commandment. And that medieval ‘knave’ for our modern scoundrel (SOB) adds a final touch. You can deliver the insult in earnest or jokingly. Either way, the effect is assured. Particularly memorable when applied during a corporate meeting or political debate. Next day’s headline, “He called (???) the lyingest knave in Christendom.”
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In the play. Humphrey of Gloucester unmasks the imposture of a self-declared blind man (Saunder) miraculously healed of blindness at St. Alban’s. This expression is also found in the Taming of the Shrew, uttered by the character Sly