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n. pl. pi·ca·ros (-rōz′, -rōs′)
1. A rogue or adventurer. Also called picaroon.
2. The main character in a picaresque work when that character is a man or boy.

[Spanish pícaro, perhaps from picar, to prick, from Vulgar Latin *piccāre; see pique.]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


(ˈpɪkərəʊ; ˈpiːk-)
n, pl -ros
(Literary & Literary Critical Terms) literature the main male character in a picaresque novel
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


(ˈpɪk əˌroʊ, ˈpi kə-)

n., pl. -ros.
a rogue or vagabond.
[1615–25; < Sp pícaro rogue]
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in classic literature ?
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 Mendoza, in 1553, and because its heroes are knavish serving-boys or similar characters whose unprincipled tricks and exploits formed the substance of the stories.
Cuanto mas "ropaje simbolico" ostenta este picaro, mas desgarrado su cuerpo deviene con el correr de sus acciones.
The picaresque genre's narrations of the misadventures of rogues have tended to privilege the masculine gender of its protagonists, and the male-centered plot of these canonical novels is further evinced not only in the maternal abandonment suffered by the young boy and his contact with a series of amoral father figures, but through the mature picaro's failed amorous relations with women.
Other stories--"Picaro," "Rearview," and "A Thing That Happens"--suggest quietly dissatisfied characters who have made a kind of peace with their lot.
(3) The protagonist of a picaresque novel is a picaro, a literary character who (a) comes from an infamous family, (b) hence carries a social stigma that conditions his life, (c) struggles to overcome his egregious origins by seeking social ascent, (d) tries many different sorts of employment, although he thrives in delinquency, and (e) as a thief the picaro exploits his cunning.
Buzzell's unwillingness to settle for a job he dislikes points to another key trait of the picaro, that of self-sufficiency.
The names of the characters also reflect their picaro nature: Chino and Sapo are given these street names due to their physical appearance.