• Of or like Mr. Pickwick in Dickens’ “Pickwick Papers,” especially in being jovial, plump, or generous.
  • (Of words or their senses) Misunderstood or misused; not literally meant, especially to avoid offense.

Get a new word in your inbox every day.

By subscribing you are agreeing to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

Example Sentences

“He gave a Pickwickian speech, carefully worded so as not to ruffle any feathers.” 

“On Sundays, our Pickwickian neighbor drops off a basket of vegetables from his garden and stays to chat for a while.”

“It’s fine to be Pickwickian in your word choices on occasion, but make sure you’re not losing the meaning.”

Word Origin

From proper name, mid-18th century

Why this word?

Victorian-era novelist Charles Dickens is renowned for his contributions to the English language, especially with eponyms — words created after people’s names. While Dickens himself didn’t coin these words (as he did “messiness,” “sawbones,” and “comfoozled”), his characters are so vivid that their names have been adapted to describe many human traits. “Pickwickian” describes a jovial, generous sort; to be “micawberish” is to be optimistic against all odds; and perhaps most notably, a “scrooge” is a miserly misanthrope.

  • More brands you’ll love

    Elevate Your Everyday

    More brands you’ll love

    Elevate Your Everyday

    Subscribe to Better Report to receive tips and tricks that will save you money, maximize your time, and improve your life.

    Subscribe to Better Report
    By clicking “Subscribe” you’re agreeing to Better Report Terms of Use and Privacy Policy

Learn a new word Concatenate