Related formsDick·en·si·an [dih-ken-zee-uh n] /dɪˈkɛn zi ən/, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

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British Dictionary definitions for dickensian


  1. of Charles Dickens or his works
  2. (resembling or suggestive of conditions described in Dickens' novels, esp)
    1. squalid and poverty-strickenworking conditions were truly Dickensian
    2. characterized by jollity and convivialitya Dickensian scene round the Christmas tree
  3. grotesquely comic, as some of the characters of Dickens


  1. informal a euphemistic word for devil what the dickens?

Word Origin for dickens

C16: from the name Dickens


  1. Charles (John Huffam), pen name Boz. 1812–70, English novelist, famous for the humour and sympathy of his characterization and his criticism of social injustice. His major works include The Pickwick Papers (1837), Oliver Twist (1839), Nicholas Nickleby (1839), Old Curiosity Shop (1840–41), Martin Chuzzlewit (1844), David Copperfield (1850), Bleak House (1853), Little Dorrit (1857), and Great Expectations (1861)
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

Word Origin and History for dickensian


exclamation, 1590s, apparently a substitute for devil; probably altered from Dickon, nickname for Richard and source of the surnames Dickens and Dickenson, but exact derivation and meaning are unknown.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper