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[skar-uh-mouch, -moosh] /ˈskær əˌmaʊtʃ, -ˌmuʃ/
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. 2015.
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British Dictionary definitions for scaramouche


/ˈskærəˌmaʊtʃ; -ˌmuːtʃ/
a stock character who appears as a boastful coward in commedia dell'arte and farce
Word Origin
C17: via French from Italian Scaramuccia, from scaramuccia a skirmish
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for scaramouche

1660s, name of a cowardly braggart (supposed by some to represent a Spanish don) in traditional Italian comedy, from Italian Scaramuccia, literally "skirmish," from schermire "to fence," from a Germanic source (cf. Old High German skirmen "defend"); see skirmish (n.). According to OED, a vogue word in late 17c. London due to the popularity of Italian actor Tiberio Fiurelli (1608-1694) in the part.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Article for scaramouche


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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