Definition of Pentonvillain in English:



derogatory, historical
  • A convict sentenced in Britain to transportation, but required first to serve eighteen months in Pentonville Prison, London (or another reformatory prison) receiving moral and religious instruction and learning a trade, before being sent to Australia on a conditional pardon.

    ‘the British Government continued to send cargoes of Pentonvillains’
    • ‘Port Phillip was deemed suitable as a place of rehabilitation for a class of convicts called exiles or Pentonvillains.’
    • ‘Suffolk, for instance, was a Pentonvillain who was transported in 1847 for fraud.’
    • ‘No more Pentonvillains ere sent, and Britain was left to find a new conduit for its prison overflow.’
    • ‘The most convincing discovery was made in 1849 by a 22-year-old transported Pentonvillain named Thomas Chapman.’
    • ‘These exiles were quickly dubbed Pentonvillains—a play on the name of the British prison Pentonville, from which the first exiles had come.’
    • ‘Feeling was running high over the Pentonvillains, and Grey was deservedly criticized.’
    • ‘Not all diggers were diggers—there were bushrangers and Pentonvillains only too eager to relieve the diggers of their gains.’
    • ‘They claimed the system "had seriously impaired the mental faculties of several of the Pentonvillains, as they were termed."’
    • ‘The British Government precipitated upon us colonists—batches of Pentonville men, commonly called the Pentonvillains.’
    • ‘The Pentonvillains were unacceptable and their transportation soon ended, frustrated by large hostile demonstrations.’