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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Synonyms for cyberpunk


cracker, 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 movie itself is based on Yukito Kishiro’s manga Gunnm, a cyberpunk story set in a dystopian future where Alita is an amnesiac bounty hunter who attempts to piece together her past. Rachel Hahn, Vogue, "Dua Lipa Goes Cyberpunk in Her New Music Video," 24 Jan. 2019 Indeed — Foundryside is essentially a fantastical cyberpunk novel. Andrew Liptak, The Verge, "Foundryside is a cyberpunk adventure wrapped in an epic fantasy novel," 23 Dec. 2018 These garments are often black, throwbacks to the cyberpunk look that dominated 1999’s The Matrix. Nadra Nittle, Vox, "American Horror Story fans are dressing like the show’s seductive Antichrist," 24 Oct. 2018 There were the traditional New Age types: hippies, cyberpunks, and transhumanists, too. Joi Ito, WIRED, "The Responsibility of Immortality: Welcome to the New Transhumanism," 4 June 2018 After over a million man-hours of construction and nearly a decade of preparation, the super-computer optimized nightmare of cyberpunk wires and tubes was finally turned on, and its initial test was a success. Eric Limer, Popular Mechanics, "Nightmarish Fusion Reactor Roars to Life in First Successful Test," 4 Feb. 2016 Battle Angel, the cyberpunk epic based on the popular manga series, has very few bankable stars. Pamela Mcclintock, The Hollywood Reporter, "Studio Drama, Big Risks and Cher: What Mattered at CinemaCon This Year," 27 Apr. 2018 Here are all the craziest looks your favorite celebs have worn to the Met Ball. Taylor Swift Since 2008, Taylor's gone from curly-haired country to classic beauty to edgy cyberpunk. Elizabeth Denton, Seventeen, "The 15 Most Amazing Celeb Style Transformations From the Met Gala," 7 May 2018 But Harajuku fashion has, historically, comprised styles like Lolita, a doll-like sort of subset of kawaii, goth, and cyberpunk, among others. Katherine Cusumano, Teen Vogue, "Bella Hadid Has a "Harajuku" Alter Ego on Instagram Named Rebekka," 10 Apr. 2018

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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Last Updated

22 Feb 2019

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Time Traveler for cyberpunk

The first known use of cyberpunk was in 1983

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English Language Learners Definition of cyberpunk

: stories about future societies that are controlled by computer technology

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More from Merriam-Webster on cyberpunk

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a flaw that causes the downfall of a hero

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