scaramouche


scaramouche

noun

  1. a stock character in commedia dell’arte and farce who is a cowardly braggart, easily beaten and frightened.
  2. (lowercase) a rascal or scamp.

noun

  1. a stock character who appears as a boastful coward in commedia dell’arte and farce

n.1660s, name of a cowardly braggart (supposed by some to represent a Spanish don) in traditional Italian comedy, from Italian Scaramuccia, literally “skirmish,” from schermire “to fence,” from a Germanic source (cf. Old High German skirmen “defend”); see skirmish (n.). According to OED, a vogue word in late 17c. London due to the popularity of Italian actor Tiberio Fiurelli (1608-1694) in the part.

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