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

Against a bright yellow backdrop, Offset performs in a number of cyberpunk pieces made from waxy leather and PVC (his rave-ready, flared jeans in particular are a stand out). Rachel Hahn, Vogue, "Offset and Cardi B Have Never Looked More in Sync Than They Do in the “Clout” Video," 17 Apr. 2019 This time around it’s Transistor, Supergiant’s cyberpunk tactics-lite game. Hayden Dingman, PCWorld, "This week in games: Lego Star Wars returns, Ubisoft gives away Assassin's Creed: Unity after Notre Dame fire," 15 Apr. 2019 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

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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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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Comments on cyberpunk

What made you want to look up cyberpunk? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


authorized for issue (as a bond)

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