scar·​a·​mouch | \ ˈsker-ə-ˌmüsh How to pronounce scaramouch (audio) , ˈska-rə-, -ˌmüch, -ˌmau̇ch \
variants: or scaramouche

Definition of scaramouch

1 capitalized : a stock character in the Italian commedia dell'arte that burlesques the Spanish don and is characterized by boastfulness and cowardliness
2a : a cowardly buffoon
b : rascal, scamp

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In the commedia dell'arte, Scaramouch was a stock character who was constantly being cudgeled by Harlequin, which may explain why his name is based on an Italian word meaning "skirmish," or "a minor fight." The character was made popular in England during the late 1600s by the clever acting of Tiberio Fiurelli. During that time, the name "Scaramouch" also gained notoriety as a derogatory word for "a cowardly buffoon" or "rascal." Today not many people use the word (which can also be spelled "scaramouche"), but you will encounter it while listening to Queen's ubiquitous rock song "Bohemian Rhapsody," in the lyric "I see a little silhouetto of a man / Scaramouche, Scaramouche, will you do the fandango?"

Examples of scaramouch in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Much like his namesake, the scaramouch, the Mooch masquerades as a useful idiot and a sly schemer, performing both roles while never forgetting to enthrall the audience and, most important, the boss. Tiana Lowe, National Review, 28 July 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'scaramouch.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of scaramouch

1662, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for scaramouch

French Scaramouche, from Italian Scaramuccia, from scaramuccia skirmish

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The first known use of scaramouch was in 1662

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Cite this Entry

“Scaramouch.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 May. 2022.

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