1. The character, dignity, or condition of a knight, or of knights as a class; hence, chivalry. “O shame to knighthood.”
If you needs must write, write Caesar's praise;
You 'll gain at least a knighthood, or the bays. --Pope.
2. The whole body of knights.
The knighthood nowadays are nothing like the knighthood of old time. --Chapman.
Note: ☞ “When the order of knighthood was conferred with full solemnity in the leisure of a court or court or city, imposing preliminary ceremonies were required of the candidate. He prepared himself by prayer and fasting, watched his arms at night in a chapel, and was then admitted with the performance of religious rites. Knighthood was conferred by the accolade, which, from the derivation of the name, would appear to have been originally an embrace; but afterward consisted, as it still does, in a blow of the flat of a sword on the back of the kneeling candidate.”
n : aristocrats holding the rank of knight