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 Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for penny-dreadful

Historical Examples of penny-dreadful

  • Why did he not now emulate the penny-dreadful heroes and say "My darling!"

  • 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 plural -fuls

British 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