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[vik-tawr-ee-uh n, -tohr-] /vɪkˈtɔr i ən, -ˈtoʊr-/
of or relating to Queen Victoria or the period of her reign:
Victorian poets.
having the characteristics usually attributed to the Victorians, especially prudishness and observance of the conventionalities.
  1. noting or pertaining to the architecture, furnishings, and decoration of English-speaking countries between c1840 and c1900, characterized by rapid changes of style as a consequence of aesthetic and philosophical controversy, technological innovations, and changes of fashion, by the frequent presence of ostentatious ornament, and by an overall trend from classicism at the start to romanticism and eclecticism at the middle of the period and thence to classicism again, with attempts at stylistic innovation occurring from time to time.
  2. noting or pertaining to the massive, elaborate work characteristic especially of the period c1855–80, derived mainly from the Baroque and Gothic styles and characterized by the presence of heavy carved ornament, elaborate moldings, etc., by the use of strong and generally dark colors, by the frequent use of dark varnished woodwork, by the emphasis on geometrical form rather than on textural effects, and frequently by an effect of harshness.
a person who lived during the Victorian period.
a house in or imitative of the Victorian style.
Origin of Victorian
1870-75; Victori(a) + -an
Related forms
post-Victorian, adjective
pre-Victorian, adjective
pseudo-Victorian, adjective, noun
un-Victorian, adjective
2. prudish, conventional, priggish, straightlaced, smug, prim, narrow. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for Victorian
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Freehold Villas symbolized the final triumph of Victorian economics, the apotheosis of the prudent and industrious artisan.

    Hilda Lessways Arnold Bennett
  • They might call Mr. Harding a Victorian if they had ever lived under Victoria.

    What I Saw in America G. K. Chesterton
  • So your protégée lives with those cameos of the Victorian era we dined with, and never sees the outside world?

    Halcyone Elinor Glyn
  • It was then he dealt with the character of our own century, as distinguished from that of the Victorian era.

    The Message Alec John Dawson
  • You look so young and so charming—indeed you do—that I can't bear to hear you talk in that early Victorian way.

    The Whirlpool George Gissing
British Dictionary definitions for Victorian


of, relating to, or characteristic of Queen Victoria or the period of her reign
exhibiting the characteristics popularly attributed to the Victorians, esp prudery, bigotry, or hypocrisy Compare Victorian values
denoting, relating to, or having the style of architecture used in Britain during the reign of Queen Victoria, characterized by massive construction and elaborate ornamentation
of or relating to Victoria (the state or any of the cities)
a person who lived during the reign of Queen Victoria
an inhabitant of Victoria (the state or any of the cities)
Derived Forms
Victorianism, noun
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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Word Origin and History for Victorian

1839, "belonging to or typical of the reign of Queen Victoria of Great Britain" (ruled 1837-1901). Figurative sense of "typified by prudish or outdated attitudes" is attested by 1934. The noun meaning "a person from or typical of Victorian times" is from 1876.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Victorian in Culture

Victorian definition

A descriptive term for the time when Victoria was queen of England, from 1837 to 1901. The Victorian period in England is known as a time of industrial progress, colonial expansion, and public fastidiousness in morals. The Victorian period in the United States had many of the same characteristics.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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