cy·​ber·​punk | \ ˈsī-bər-ˌpəŋk How to pronounce cyberpunk (audio) \

Definition of cyberpunk

1 : science fiction dealing with future urban societies dominated by computer technology
2 : an opportunistic computer hacker

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Cyberpunk and Literature

In science fiction circles, "cyberpunk" is a genre that often features countercultural antiheroes trapped in a dehumanizing high-tech future. Its roots extend back to the technical fiction of the 1940s and '50s, but it was years before it matured. The word cyberpunk was coined by writer Bruce Bethke, who wrote a story with that title in 1980. He created the term by combining "cybernetics," the science of replacing human functions with computerized ones, and "punk," the raucous music and nihilistic sensibility that became a youth culture in the 1970s and '80s. Not until the 1984 publication of William Gibson's novel, Neuromancer, however, did "cyberpunk" really take off as a term or a genre.

Examples of cyberpunk in a Sentence

the bank had to overhaul its online banking system after a cyberpunk broke into the accounts of thousands of customers
Recent Examples on the Web The game is already out on Steam, and will be available on PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch and Xbox One from May 1. Explore Gagne's backlog of fiction games and stories here, including a cyberpunk web novel and plenty of genre mashup adventures. Trilby Beresford, The Hollywood Reporter, "The Independent Gamer: 'Arcade Spirits' Debuts on Switch, 'Fire Escape' Finds You in Lockdown," 1 May 2020 As such, a game that could play like a cyberpunk thriller often feels like a slice-of-life story, a trip through the most complex and detailed world Square Enix could muster. Julie Muncy, Wired, "Final Fantasy VII Remake Is a Lot of Filler, Mostly Killer," 10 Apr. 2020 Dame Helen Mirren was in attendance, channeling Kojima’s cyberpunk-meets-postpunk aesthetic in a long black blazer with a Radiohead patch on the breast. Adrian Chen, New York Times, "Hideo Kojima’s Strange, Unforgettable Video-Game Worlds," 3 Mar. 2020 The bracelet is like an anti-smartwatch, both in its cyberpunk aesthetic and in its purpose of defeating technology. New York Times, "Activate This ‘Bracelet of Silence,’ and Alexa Can’t Eavesdrop," 14 Feb. 2020 Musk also revived hints that the vehicle would be inspired, in some capacity, by the film Blade Runner, and exchanges with his followers on Twitter, who joked about needing to wear cyberpunk costumes to the reveal, were met approvingly by the CEO. Eric Adams, Popular Mechanics, "Everything We Know About Tesla’s Mysterious New Pickup Truck," 13 Nov. 2019 Unlike scads of other cyberpunk games, including the upcoming Cyberpunk 2077, there’s no room for hip countercultural rebellion in System Shock. Adi Robertson, The Verge, "System Shock 2 helped define survival horror — but it’s still in a league of its own," 11 Aug. 2019 BrickinNick said he's long been a fan of Tesla and cyberpunk aesthetics, and built and rebuilt his original Cybertruck model over the course of a 24-hour live stream on his Twitch channel. Sebastian Blanco, Car and Driver, "Lego Tesla Cybertruck Fan Model Gets 10,000 Votes to Become Real," 26 Jan. 2020 First up is Cyberpunk 2077, the game about a dark cyberpunk future where Keanu Reeves never ages. Julie Muncy, Wired, "Cyberpunk 2077 Is Being Delayed," 17 Jan. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'cyberpunk.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of cyberpunk

1983, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for cyberpunk

Time Traveler

The first known use of cyberpunk was in 1983

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Last Updated

16 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Cyberpunk.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Jul. 2020.

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How to pronounce cyberpunk (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of cyberpunk

: stories about future societies that are controlled by computer technology

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