The quality of acting like a villain or a rascal is knavery. You'll know that knavery happened last night if you wake to find toilet paper strung from the branches of your trees.

The noun knavery comes from knave, an old-fashioned word meaning "rascal or rogue." Shakespeare was especially famous for using knave as an insult, and knavery reflects this sense of a foolish and terrible person who's up to no good. Dirty political tricks can be called knavery, as can rascally practical jokes, and even wickedness, dishonesty, and cruelty.

Definitions of knavery

n lack of honesty; acts of lying or cheating or stealing

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betrayal, perfidy, treachery, treason
an act of deliberate betrayal
charlatanism, quackery
the dishonesty of a charlatan
an attempt to get you to do something foolish or imprudent
falsehood, falsification
the act of rendering something false as by fraudulent changes (of documents or measures etc.) or counterfeiting
double cross, double-crossing
an act of betrayal
an act of betrayal
frame-up, setup
an act that incriminates someone on a false charge
falsification by the use of sophistry; misleading by means of specious fallacies
criminal falsification by making or altering an instrument with intent to defraud
Type of:
actus reus, misconduct, wrongdoing, wrongful conduct
activity that transgresses moral or civil law

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