Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Medical
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary
Word of the Day : April 10, 2012

picaresque

play
adjective pik-uh-RESK

Definition

: 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

Examples

"His specialty was the picaresque novel, which took the hero (with the reader happily perched on his shoulder) on a wild ride…." - From an article by Martin Rubin in The Washington Times, March 16, 2012

"Joey embarks on an unwitting, picaresque odyssey through this terrible 'war to end all wars,' crossing paths with a pair of young German deserters and a French teenage girl, and then doing hard time hauling cannons and supplies for the Germans."- From a review by Kevin Lally in Film Journal, December 21, 2011



Did You Know?

"Picaresque" derives from Spanish "picaresco," which means "of or relating to a picaro." The word "picaro," 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 wits and a little dishonesty to get by. The first known novel in this style is Lazarillo de Tormes (circa 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.

Test Your Memory

What is the meaning of "pippin," our Word of the Day from March 23, 2012? The answer is ...


Podcast


More Words of the Day