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penny dreadful

noun, plural penny dreadfuls. Chiefly British.
a cheap, sensational novel of adventure, crime, or violence; dime novel.
Origin of penny dreadful
First recorded in 1870-75 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for penny-dreadful
Historical Examples
  • Why did he not now emulate the penny-dreadful heroes and say "My darling!"

    The Treasure of Heaven Marie Corelli
  • Of course you may call it a trap and all that sort of penny-dreadful rot; but what other way had I to see you?

    The Eddy Clarence L. Cullen
  • Then look at Brigham Young's penny-dreadful tyranny in Utah, with real blood.

    The Woman in Black Edmund Clerihew Bentley
  • The wildest flight of fancy of an irresponsible novelist had never created such a character in penny-dreadful fiction.

    The Dark Star Robert W. Chambers
  • Mother doesnt allow me to read any penny-dreadful story papers, magazines or books.

British Dictionary definitions for penny-dreadful


noun (pl) -fuls
(Brit, informal) a cheap, often lurid or sensational book or magazine
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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