(French). A blow or cut with a sword, hence also “estramaçonner,” to play at backsword. Sir Walter Scott uses the word in the sense of a feint or pretended cut. Hence Sir Jeffrey Hudson, the dwarf, says:
“I tripped a hasty morris ... upon the dining table, now offering my sword [to the Duke of Buckingham], and now recovering it, I made ... a sort of estramacon at his nose, the dexterity of which consists in coming mightily near to the object without touching it.” —Peveril of the Peak, chap. xxxiv.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894