Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A rogue or adventurer. Also called picaroon.
  • n. The main character in a picaresque work when that character is a man or boy.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. rogue, adventurer

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A rogue; a thief.

Etymologies

Spanish pícaro, perhaps from picar, to prick, from Vulgar Latin *piccāre; see pique.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Spanish pícaro (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Since the root meaning of "picaro" is "rogue," if we were to demand of such a character that he/she be a model of propriety, we would be denying the picaresque form its motivating agency.

    Narrative Strategies

  • The picaresque story -- derived from the term identifying the protagonist of such stories, the "picaro" -- was introduced by Spanish writers of the 16th and 17th centuries, and is essentially a journey narrative in which the picaro, usually a rogueish character, embarks on a journey in which, literally, one thing happens after another.

    Narrative Strategies

  • He is a real "picaro" and would use it in a situation like ...

    Si Dios me permite......

  • Maradona is the classic "picaro" character of 16th century Spanish literature, a scoundrel who lives by his wits and rebels against the establishment.

    Brownsville Herald :

  • It's the "adventures" of the picaro that solicit our attention in this kind of fiction, and whatever change or enhancement of character that emerges is secondary to the experiences to which the character is submitted, to the process by which change or growth might (or might not) occur.

    Narrative Strategies

  • It might be that Catherynne Valente reacted as she did to Famke because she failed to consider that Breath and Bones is essentially a picaresque novel, Famke its picaro.

    Narrative Strategies

  • Comic actors, whom Meeker models on the picaro in contrast to the tragic or pastoral hero, are not at odds with the world because they do not think in terms of oppositions or polarities.

    Joanna Baillie’s Ecotopian Comedies

  • It is based on the tales of Flemish picaro avant-la-lettre Renard the Fox.

    Sly as a fox, or, picaros avant la lettre « Jahsonic

  • They belonged mostly to that class of realistic fiction which is called picaresque, from the Spanish word 'picaro,' a rogue, because it began in Spain with the 'Lazarillo de Tormes' of Diego de

    A History of English Literature

  • They grew more fantastic as they ran to seed, till in the Elizabethan age they had degenerated into picaresque stories (from _picaro_, "a rogue") which recounted the adventures not of a noble knight but of some scoundrel or outcast.

    Outlines of English and American Literature : an Introduction to the Chief Writers of England and America, to the Books They Wrote, and to the Times in Which They Lived

Wordnik is becoming a not-for-profit! Read our announcement here.

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.