Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
- (originally pejorative, now usually historical) A cheap paperback book, particularly those concerning lurid depictions of crime in the Victorian era.
- (originally pejorative, now usually historical) Pulp fiction: stories written in the lurid style of the penny dreadfuls.
Also used attributively as an adjective.
- Oxford English Dictionary, "penny, n.", 2005.