Valet vs Varlet: Difference and Comparison

A single word can have many meanings and even a change in spelling would result in a new word. Therefore, a noun can have multiple meanings and can be used in different sentences.

Such as Valet and varlet have different meanings while it is used in different sentences. But, people tend to misunderstand them due to similar spelling. 

Key Takeaways

  1. Valets are personal attendants who provide various services, such as parking cars, carrying luggage, or assisting with clothing.
  2. Varlet is an archaic term for a male servant or attendant, used in a derogatory manner.
  3. Valets perform specific services, while varlets refer to servants in a more general, historical context.

Valet vs Varlet

A valet is a noun word for personal servant responsible for the care and maintenance of a gentleman’s clothing, laundry, and appearance. A varlet is an archaic term for a low-ranking servant or a rogue, used as a derogatory term for someone of questionable character and values.

Valet vs Varlet

Valet is a word used to describe a gentleman’s personal male attendant who is responsible for his appearance and manages his clothes.

It is mainly used for this purpose, yet there is another reference as well. Moreover, the synonyms of valet are personal attendant and proscribed. Also, a valet can be used as a noun and a verb as well. 

Varlet is a word used to describe a servant or attendant but this word is considered to be obsolete. Besides, there are other meanings as well.

In English, it is used for attendant or servant beside the gentleman’s gentleman, while in French, it is referred to as Knight’s squire. Additionally, it is only used as a noun. 

Comparison Table

Parameters of comparison Valet Varlet
Definition Valet is used for a gentleman’s personal male attendant. A varlet is a servant or attendant. 
Contemporary/obsolete Valet is contemporary.Varlet is obsolete.
ResponsibilityValet manages a gentleman’s clothes and is responsible for his appearance.Varlet can have different work as an attendant or a servant. 
SynonymsValet synonyms are personal attendant and proscribed.Varlet synonyms are knave, rouge, helper, attendant, blackguard, etc
Use as a noun/verb Valet can be used as a noun as well as a verb.Varlet is only used as a noun.

What is Valet?

A word can have multiple meanings and can be used as a noun and verb. Even, it is used as a noun or verb only.

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Valet has several meanings, but it is mainly used as a noun. It is described as a gentleman’s personal male attendant. 

The valet’s main work is responsible for his appearance and managing his clothes. Besides, there’s no other work done by them.

In the middle ages and old regime, the role of junior courtiers and specialists was valet de chamber. Although, the name itself suggests a general servant who manages the clothes and personal belongings of the gentleman.

Besides, he is also responsible for minor arrangements as well. 

Moreover, this term is used for parking valet, but it is sometimes misunderstood as a butler. However, a butler and a valet are very distinct from each other.

As for the origin of the term, it was used by the French-speaking English Medieval court. So, it was recorded since 1567. 

Being a french importation, the ‘t’ is silent in modern french and the modern use valet is derived from ‘valet de chambre’. It is the closest female equivalent to Lady’s maid as a valet is gentleman’s gentleman. 

Furthermore, a valet is used as a noun as well as a verb. As a verb, it means to serve as a valet. 

What is Varlet?

A single change in the spelling of a word could change the overall meaning of the word. As Varlet and valet can be confusing, they are very different from each other. However, they share similarities as well. 

A varlet is also used for a servant or a personal attendant. Although, the term ‘varlet’ i considered to be obsolete.

Besides, it has multiple meanings as well, yet it is mostly used as a noun. Anyways, it is also used for the court card which is being called Knave or Jack. 

In fact, it is also used as showing characteristics that refer to a deceitful and unreliable scoundrel.

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Moving forward to the ancient meaning of the Varlet, it was used for Knight’s attendant actor. That was considered the first stage of training of the knighthood. 

Moreover, the term ‘Varlet is used for knight’s squire, yet it is restricted to feudal use only in the French. Anyways, it is not limited to the use in French.

In Modern English, it was used for the servants or personal attendants besides the gentleman’s gentleman(Valet). Meanwhile, it was called lackey in the livery and compared to valet de pied(Foot varlet). 

Furthermore, another meaning of the term ’varlet ‘ could be an unprincipled man or a rouge in archaic English.

Main Differences Between Valet and Varlet

A single word can be used as a noun and verb synonymously. Besides, a single change in spelling changes the overall meaning of a word.

As Valet and Varlet are considered similar, however, they are very distinct from each other. Indeed, some of the aspects are similar, yet looking at the overall meaning and other aspects, it is very different from each other. 

  1. Valet is used for a gentleman’s personal male attendant. On the other hand, a varlet is a servant or attendant. 
  2. Valet is contemporary, while Varlet is obsolete.
  3. Valet manages a gentleman’s clothes and is responsible for his appearance, while varlet can have different work as an attendant or a servant. 
  4. Valet synonyms are personal attendant and proscribed, while varlet synonyms are knave, rouge, helper, attendant, blackguard, etc. 
  5. Valet can be used as a noun as well as a verb, while varlet is only used as a noun. 
Difference Between Valet and Varlet

References 

  1. https://search.proquest.com/openview/72868614fd6cb6af/1?pq-origsite=gscholar&cbl=16475
  2. http://wilearn.ch:81/wikipedia_en_all_novid_2017-08/A/Groom_of_the_Bedchamber.html

Last Updated : 18 July, 2023

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