post·​mod·​ern | \ ˌpōs(t)-ˈmä-dərn How to pronounce postmodern (audio) , nonstandard -ˈmä-d(ə-)rən \

Definition of postmodern

1 : of, relating to, or being an era after a modern one postmodern times a postmodern metropolis
2a : of, relating to, or being any of various movements in reaction to modernism that are typically characterized by a return to traditional materials and forms (as in architecture) or by ironic self-reference and absurdity (as in literature)
b : of, relating to, or being a theory that involves a radical reappraisal of modern assumptions about culture, identity, history, or language postmodern feminism

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Other Words from postmodern

postmodernism \ ˌpōs(t)-​ˈmä-​dər-​ˌni-​zəm How to pronounce postmodern (audio) \ noun
postmodernist \ ˌpōs(t)-​ˈmä-​dər-​nist How to pronounce postmodern (audio) \ adjective or noun
postmodernity \ ˌpōs(t)-​mə-​ˈdər-​ne-​tē How to pronounce postmodern (audio) , -​mä-​ also  -​ˈder-​ \ noun

Examples of postmodern in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web In the last few years, the team has previously used this postmodern cabaret experience to tackle everything from 80s teen movies with the superb The Brat Pack to the films of Martin Scorsese in Scorsese: American Crime Requiem. Simon Thompson, Forbes, 9 Sep. 2021 These are part and parcel with the tradition of postmodern Black storytelling — part fiction, part lived experience, all truth — and Wideman continues to excel within it. Tiana Reid, Vulture, 31 Aug. 2021 Indeed, there’s a whole genre of works criticizing our hyper-technological, post-postmodern age, and Burnham’s new musical is one of the most powerful and creative additions in recent memory. Nora Kenney, National Review, 22 July 2021 But he was also absorbed by the cinema, particularly the darkly comic animations of the Czech filmmaker Jan Svankmajer, and even more by the pyrotechnical postmodern literature of Donald Barthelme and Robert Coover. New York Times, 22 July 2021 Conservative diatribes got equal billing alongside postmodern manifestoes; quality was her only criterion. New York Times, 14 July 2021 Occhipinti hadn’t been looking for postmodern furniture, but something about this set drew her in. Diana Budds, Curbed, 21 Jan. 2021 Another seems to display a gray postmodern sculpture of organic forms with ridges and swirls. Edward Rothstein, WSJ, 7 Apr. 2021 In between is a plot borne of Austen and Richardson that sweeps through the long 19th century of realist sagas, wiggles into Modernism, and ends on a postmodern questioning of the worth of the novel itself. Hillary Kelly, Vulture, 25 Feb. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'postmodern.' 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 postmodern

1916, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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The first known use of postmodern was in 1916

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Last Updated

17 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Postmodern.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Sep. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of postmodern

: of or relating to postmodernism


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