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A cowardly but boastful man who appears as a stock character in many comedies; or the empty boasting typical of such a braggart. This sort of character was known in Greek comedy as the alazon. When he is a soldier, he is often referred to as the miles gloriosus (‘vainglorious soldier’) after the title of a comedy by the Roman dramatist Plautus. The most famous example in English drama is Shakespeare's Falstaff.

Subjects: Literature.

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