1580s, "ostentatious courage, pretentious boldness," from French bravade "bragging, boasting," from Italian bravata "bragging, boasting" (16c.), from bravare "brag, boast, be defiant," from bravo "brave, bold" (see brave (adj.)). The English word was influenced in form by Spanish words ending in -ado. It also was used as a noun 17c.-18c., "swaggering fellow."
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