1 historical A supporter or follower of a king, especially a royalist. Also: specifically a supporter of the infant King James VI of Scotland, as opposed to Mary, Queen of Scots, during the civil war in Scotland (1568–73).
In early use often: a feudal vassal of a king.
2 historical In plural. With the. Frequently with capital initial(s). (The name of) a company of actors under the patronage of James I of England (James VI of Scotland), for whom William Shakespeare wrote for most of his career.
The company (also known as ‘the King's Majesty's Servants’), was founded in 1594 as ‘the Lord Chamberlain's Men’, and was renamed in 1603 when the new king of England, James I, became patron.
3US historical A person who supported the British cause at the time of the American War of Independence (1775–83).
4A member of King's College, Cambridge.
5 slang, historical Usually as one word. A silk handkerchief or neckerchief, especially one traditionally worn by costermongers in the 19th century.
Now usually as one word. Originally: a member of the King's Regiment (now historical). In later use usually specifically: (a title for) a private soldier in the King's Regiment or (since 2006) the Duke of Lancaster's Regiment.
The regiment formed in 1685 as Princess Anne of Denmark's Regiment of Foot became the King's Regiment of Foot in 1715. In 2006 the King's Regiment was amalgamated with the King's Own Royal Border Regiment and the Queen's Lancashire Regiment to form the Duke of Lancaster's Regiment.
Old English; earliest use found in Letter to Edward the Elder. From the genitive of king + man.