Definition of penny dreadful in English:

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penny dreadful


A cheap, sensational comic or storybook: [as modifier]: penny dreadful comics
More example sentences
  • To a Victorian audience it would have been even more moving, for on close inspection she is no Greek maiden, but a late-Victorian English rose whose predicament is straight from the pages of a penny dreadful or pocket novella.
  • In Anthony Trollope's short story The Spotted Dog, one of the characters visits the editor of a Victorian penny dreadful in his office.
  • The image was burned, like something out of a Victorian penny dreadful, into my mind.


Late 19th century: so named because the original cost was one penny.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: penny dread|ful

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