Dahlesque is a word that has only recently been added to the Oxford English Dictionary. We will examine the meaning of the term Dahlesque, where it comes from and some examples of its use in sentences.

Dahlesque means echoing or resembling the style of the British children’s author Roald Dahl. Dahl wrote primarily middle-grade novels that appealed to children because of their black, sometimes gruesome humor and terrible depictions of adults. Some of Dahl’s well-known stories are Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, James and the Giant Peach, The BFG and Matilda. Roald Dahl died in 1990 but his books are still popular with children, many of them have been adapted for film. The Oxford English Dictionary included Dahlesque as a new word in 2016, also adding words coined or popularized by Dahl such as Oompa Loompa and scrumdiddlyumptious. Note that Dahlesque is capitalized as it refers to a particular person by name. The term is sometimes seen with a hyphen, as in Dahl-esqe, but the Oxford English Dictionary only lists the unhyphenated spelling.


Encouraged by the curators of the Roald Dahl Literary Estate, who “were brilliant keeping us on track and at times urged us to be a bit more subversive,” Rennie and her team proceeded with Dahlesque playfulness: the entry for “Esio Trot” is written backwards, the definition for “limerick” is itself a limerick, and the entry for “upside down” is printed—well, no need to elaborate. (Publishers Weekly)

Trying on Edda’s clothes transports me into a Quentin Blake-illustrated Roald Dahl-esque world, exciting my imagination and wrapping me in fantastical childhood memories. (The Huffington Post)

Roxburgh could be accused of writing a Dahlesque pastiche in his character Aunty-boy if she were not modelled on the actor’s eccentric spinster aunt, “a perpetual thorn in my adolescent side because she was always bailing up my mates on the way to school, or random unknown other high school kids, and clacking her dentures at them and speaking in rhymes”. (The Sydney Morning Herald)

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