1 historical A man or boy acting as an attendant or servant.
- ‘Even among those who rank, at least by economic criteria, as middle-class, the most proximate precedent for their dress style is that of medieval varlets.’
2 archaic A dishonest or unprincipled man.
rogue, rascal, scoundrel, good-for-nothing, villain, wretch, unprincipled person, rake, profligate, degenerate, debauchee, libertine
- ‘What varlet hath done such a blight upon our fair Empire?’
Late Middle English from Old French, variant of valet ‘attendant’ (see valet). The sense ‘rogue’ dates from the mid 16th century.
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