[skar-uh-mouch, -moosh]
a stock character in commedia dell'arte and farce who is a cowardly braggart, easily beaten and frightened.
(lowercase) a rascal or scamp.
Also, Scaramouche.

1655–65; < French Scaramouche < Italian Scaramuccia, proper use of scaramuccia skirmish (applied in jest); of Germanic orig. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
Scaramouch or Scaramouche (ˈskærəˌmaʊtʃ, -ˌmuːtʃ, ˈskærəˌmaʊtʃ, -ˌmuːtʃ)
a stock character who appears as a boastful coward in commedia dell'arte and farce
[C17: via French from Italian Scaramuccia, from scaramuccia a skirmish]
Scaramouche or Scaramouche
[C17: via French from Italian Scaramuccia, from scaramuccia a skirmish]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

1662, name of a cowardly braggart (supposed by some to represent a Spanish don) in traditional Italian comedy, from It. Scaramuccia, lit. "skirmish," from schermire "to fence," from a Gmc. source (cf. O.H.G. skirmen "defend"); see skirmish. A vogue word in late 17c. London
due to the popularity of Tiberio Fiurelli in the part (his company of It. players arrived in London 1673).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Britannica


stock character of the Italian theatrical form known as the commedia dell'arte; an unscrupulous and unreliable servant. His affinity for intrigue often landed him in difficult situations, yet he always managed to extricate himself, usually leaving an innocent bystander as his victim. Scaramouche was originally a variation of the commedia character Capitano, a braggart soldier. The role was closely associated with the Italian actor Tiberio Fiorillo (1608-94), who played without a mask. He transformed the military role to that of a comic servant, usually an indigent gentleman's valet. His costume was black breeches, jacket, cloak, and beret.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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