1839, "belonging to or typical of the reign of Queen Victoria of Great Britain" (ruled 1837-1901). Figurative sense of "typified by prudish or outdated attitudes" is attested by 1934. The noun meaning "a person from or typical of Victorian times" is from 1876.
word-forming element making nouns implying a practice, system, doctrine, etc., from French -isme or directly from Latin -isma, -ismus (source also of Italian, Spanish -ismo, Dutch, German -ismus), from Greek -ismos, noun ending signifying the practice or teaching of a thing, from the stem of verbs in -izein, a verb-forming element denoting the doing of the noun or adjective to which it is attached. For distinction of use, see -ity. The related Greek suffix -isma(t)- affects some forms.