Simple Definition of picaresque
: telling a story about the adventures of a usually playful and dishonest character
Full Definition of picaresque
: of or relating to rogues or rascals; also : of, relating to, suggesting, or being a type of fiction dealing with the episodic adventures of a usually roguish protagonist <a picaresque novel>
Did You Know?
Picaresque derives from Spanish picaresco, which means "of or relating to a picaro." What is a picaro? This word, which also derives from Spanish, means "rogue" or "bohemian." "Picaro" describes a type of character that has long been a popular subject for fictional narrative. Typically, the picaresque novel centers around a wandering individual of low standing who happens into a series of adventures among people of various higher classes, often relying on his wits and a little dishonesty to get by. The first known novel in this style is Lazarillo de Tormes (ca. 1554), an irreverent work about a poor boy who works for a series of masters of dubious character. The novel has been attributed to Diego Hurtado de Mendoza, but his authorship is disputable.
Origin and Etymology of picaresque
Spanish picaresco, from pícaro
First Known Use: 1810
Definition of picaresque
: one that is picaresque
First Known Use of picaresque
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