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picaresque

[pik-uh-resk] /ˌpɪk əˈrɛsk/
adjective
1.
pertaining to, characteristic of, or characterized by a form of prose fiction, originally developed in Spain, in which the adventures of an engagingly roguish hero are described in a series of usually humorous or satiric episodes that often depict, in realistic detail, the everyday life of the common people:
picaresque novel; picaresque hero.
2.
of, pertaining to, or resembling rogues.
Origin
1800-1810
1800-10; < Spanish picaresco. See picaro, -esque
Related forms
unpicaresque, adjective
Can be confused
picaresque, picturesque (see synonym study at picturesque)
Synonyms
2. prankish, rascally, devilish, raffish.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples for picaresque
  • Her characters are quixotic, picaresque heroes of the moral life.
  • His case is exceptional only for its picaresque twist.
  • Not many picaresque heroes find things so straightforward.
  • Its plot is picaresque and fabulous, slightly demented.
  • While the picture looks edited through a meat grinder, the source must have had something, judging by picaresque bits and pieces.
  • They usually revolved around a picaresque central character who comes of age at a crucial historic moment.
  • Often enough the destination didn't matter to a hitcher embarked on a personal picaresque.
  • Both sides have put forward aggressive arguments, at times tilting to the picaresque.
  • It is at once a comprehensive military and diplomatic account, and a vast picaresque.
  • Hence the book's picaresque quality-it is a string of anecdotes-and also, at times, a certain patness in the comedy.
British Dictionary definitions for picaresque

picaresque

/ˌpɪkəˈrɛsk/
adjective
1.
of or relating to a type of fiction in which the hero, a rogue, goes through a series of episodic adventures. It originated in Spain in the 16th century
2.
of or involving rogues or picaroons
Word Origin
C19: via French from Spanish picaresco, from pícaro a rogue
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for picaresque
adj.

1810, from Spanish picaresco "roguish," from picaro "rogue," of uncertain origin, possibly from picar "to pierce," from Vulgar Latin *piccare (see pike (n.2)). Originally in roman picaresque "rogue novel," the classic example being "Gil Blas."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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