Young Charles Dickens

8 Words You Didn’t Know Charles Dickens Invented

We all know Charles Dickens is one of the most famous writers of all time – but did you know he also invented some of the words he used to write his classic novels? That’s right! He invented words – how cool is that?

Here’s a list of just some of the words Dickens invented (or was an early adopter of). Once you’ve read through them download our free activity sheet to have some more fun with Dickens words!

Bah Humbug:  An exclamation of irritation or disgust. First appeared in A Christmas Carol (1843).

“Bah,” said Scrooge, “Humbug.”

―  A Christmas Carol

Boredom: The state of feeling disinterested. First appeared in Bleak House (1852).

Devil-may-care: reckless; careless or jovial and rakish in manner; seems to come from the saying, “The devil may care but I don’t.”

 “Not that this would have worried him much, anyway — he was a mighty free and easy, roving, devil-may-care sort of person, was my uncle, gentlemen.

– The Pickwick Papers

Doormat: Used metaphorically, a person who is treated poorly. First appears in Great Expectations (1861)

Creeps, the: a feeling of fear and revulsion.

 “She was constantly complaining of the cold, and of its occasioning a visitation in her back which she called ‘the creeps’.”

—  David Copperfield

Abuzz: characterized by excessive gossip or activity.

Rampage: Destructive or violent behavior by person or group. First appeared in Great Expectations (1860).

Flummox: to confuse; perplex.

“And my ‘pinion is, Sammy, that if your governor don’t prove a alleybi, he’ll be what the Italians call reg’larly flummoxed, and that’s all about it.”

The Pickwick Papers


The modern holiday classic returns this winter at Theatre Row!

Before he became a famous writer, Charles Dickens was a typical 12-year-old boy with a gift for telling stories. Based on the book A Boy Called Dickens by Deborah Hopkinson, Young Charles Dickens is the true story of how one of the most famous writers of all time found his calling.


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