a novel (1838) by Charles Dickens, well known for its realistic descriptions of London's poor districts and criminals. Oliver is a poor orphan (= child whose parents are dead) who runs away to London. There he joins a group of criminals, including Fagin, the Artful Dodger and Bill Sikes, who try to turn him into a thief. He is rescued by a good man, Mr Brownlow, but captured again by the criminals. Nancy, Sikes's girlfriend, tries to help Oliver and is killed by Sikes, who dies while trying to escape from the police. The criminals are all arrested and Oliver goes to live with Mr Brownlow. It is one of Dickens's most famous books, and has been made into successful films and a musical show called Oliver!(1960).