steam·​punk | \ ˈstēm-ˌpəŋk How to pronounce steampunk (audio) \

Definition of steampunk

: science fiction dealing with 19th-century societies dominated by historical or imagined steam-powered technology

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I think Victorian fantasies are going to be the next big thing, as long as we can come up with a fitting collective term for [Tim] Powers, [James] Blaylock and myself. So wrote the science-fiction author K. W. Jeter, credited with coining the term steampunk in 1987 to describe a wave of fantasy novels set in Victorian times and celebrating the technology of the era, much of which was powered by steam. In both name and subject, steampunk is an antithesis to cyberpunk, a genre often noted for featuring computerized, futuristic, or unearthly settings. The popularity of steampunk has since carried over to motion pictures, fashion, and even things like restaurant décor.

Examples of steampunk in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The effect is a cross between space-age and steampunk and the charging case can even double as a bottle opener. Mark Sparrow, Forbes, 9 Apr. 2022 The couple ran a bookstore together in Pine Hill, had a radio show on WIOX in nearby Roxbury, N.Y., and were founders of a festival in Pine Hill for people interested in the science fiction subgenre steampunk. New York Times, 11 Mar. 2022 Friends who live in a Brooklyn brownstone have a more industrial unit from Soil and Oak that has a faint whisper (faint is good) of steampunk. New York Times, 28 Oct. 2021 Ed Kidera, a metal sculptor who creates bells, steampunk flying machines and more, was one of the first to be interviewed by Crider. Katie V. Jones,, 26 Aug. 2021 Based on Leigh Bardugo’s popular YA novel series, Shadow and Bone offers a compelling blend of intrigue, romance, and action, steeped in an aesthetic that’s part steampunk, part imperial Russia. Jenna Scherer, Rolling Stone, 21 May 2021 The show is currently airing, but my favorite character so far is Penance (Ann Skelly), who uses her powers to invent all kinds of steampunk-looking gizmos. Manasa Vedula, Glamour, 6 May 2021 People into steampunk can gather on Oct. 3 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Hill-Stead Museum, 35 Mountain Road in Farmington, for a photo shoot, tours of the historic home and grounds, and a picnic. Susan Dunne,, 29 Sep. 2020 Perfect for train enthusiasts, or anyone who likes steampunk or dieselpunk, the Dazzling Steamliner is a sleek, aerodynamic metal locomotive model. Popular Science, 26 Sep. 2020 See More

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

First Known Use of steampunk

1987, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for steampunk

steam entry 1 + cyberpunk

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The first known use of steampunk was in 1987

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Dictionary Entries Near steampunk

steam pump


steam railroad

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Statistics for steampunk

Last Updated

12 Apr 2022

Cite this Entry

“Steampunk.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 May. 2022.

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