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BEFORE THE 1700S, JACKS IN DECKS OF CARDS WERE KNOWN AS WHAT?
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Playing cards have been a popular pastime for centuries, with their origins dating back to ancient China. Over time, playing cards have evolved and changed, with new games and variations emerging all the time. One interesting aspect of playing cards is the terminology used to describe the different cards in a deck. Before the 1700s, jacks in decks of cards were known as knaves.
The knave was a key card in many games, particularly in trick-taking games like bridge and euchre. It was usually the second-highest ranking card in the deck, after the ace, and was often depicted as a young, clean-shaven man wearing a hat and holding a scepter or sword. In some decks, the knave was depicted as a female figure, known as a “knave-ess” or “la dame.”
The term “knave” comes from the Old English word “cnafa,” which means “boy” or “servant.” Over time, the term came to be associated with deceit or trickery, which may explain why the card eventually came to be known as the jack, a name that is still used to this day.
The change from “knave” to “jack” likely occurred in the 17th century, as playing cards began to gain popularity in England. The term “jack” was a common name for a young man at the time, and it may have been used to avoid confusion with the king, which was also sometimes referred to as a “knave.”
the term “jack” is used to describe the card that comes between the ten and queen in a deck of playing cards. It remains an important card in many games, and its name is now firmly established in the lexicon of card-playing terminology.
In the end, the evolution of playing card terminology reflects the changing attitudes and cultural values of different societies throughout history. While the knave may have fallen out of favor, the jack remains a beloved and essential part of the deck, and its name continues to be used by millions of players around the world.