Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Simple and kind: a Pickwickian uncle.
  • adj. Meant or understood in an idiosyncratic or unusual way: a word used in a Pickwickian manner.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. arbitrary or meaningless (of the usage of a word or phrase)
  • adj. Having, or relating to, Pickwickian syndrome.
  • adj. Of or relating to The Pickwick Papers, its storyline, or its characters (chiefly Mr Pickwick himself).

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Relating to or resembling Mr. Pickwick, the hero of Dickens's “Pickwick Papers.”

Etymologies

After Mr. Pickwick, central character in The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club by Charles Dickens.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Pickwick +‎ -ian, from The Pickwick Papers (1836) by Charles Dickens. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Most physicians are familiar with the so-called Pickwickian syndrome, which, generally speaking, refers to a child who is both very fat and chronically sleepy.

    Solve Your Child’s Sleep Problems

  • Another common disorder that was highlighted was obesity hypoventilation syndrome (also known as Pickwickian syndrome).

    Top Headlines

  • The northerners do not understand that these expressions are only meant in a sort of "Pickwickian" sense; hence the error.

    Before the War, and After the Union; An Autobiography

  • Sir Arthur's music, too, is highly "Pickwickian," and the joint effort of the two humorists is infinitely diverting.

    Bardell v. Pickwick

  • 'bloody shirt' is only a kind of Pickwickian battle cry.

    Marse Henry : an autobiography,

  • If it's Christmas after the Wall Street crash, then a plump, Pickwickian stagecoach driver is thinking of roast goose and a "merrie" time.

    The norms of Norman Rockwell | Peter Preston

  • The unworthy thought crossed my mind that her present misbehaviour rendered her eminently blackmailable where Popplewell was concerned - but it was a purely Pickwickian reflection, you understand.

    THE NUMBERS

  • It also tapped into the lighter side of the dour-looking Mr. Safire: a Pickwickian quibbler who gleefully pounced on gaffes, inexactitudes, neologisms, misnomers, solecisms and perversely peccant puns, like "the president's populism" and "the first lady's momulism."

    Gershon Hepner: William Safire

  • The Timesobit is written strongly enough in the Safire style--in one case he's described as "a Pickwickian quibbler who gleefully pounced on gaffes, inexactitudes, neologisms, misnomers, solecisms and perversely peccant puns"--that it makes you wonder if he drafted it himself.

    Shelfari:

  • A Pickwickian scene where he gets lost in a park and ends up, embarrassed, in somebody's backyard.

    Did Someone Say No Worries?

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