ETYM French, from Spanish picaro rogue.
Involving clever rogues or adventurers especially as in a type of fiction.
Pertaining or relating to rogues or roguish behaviour.
Genre of novel that takes a rogue or villain for its central character, telling his or her story in episodic form. The genre originated in Spain and was popular in the 18th century in Britain. Daniel Defoe’s Moll Flanders, Tobias Smollett’s Roderick Random, Henry Fielding’s Tom Jones, and Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn are typical picaresque novels. The device of using an outsider gave the author the opportunity to give fresh moral insights into society.