steampunk

noun
steam·​punk | \ ˈstēm-ˌpəŋk \

Definition of steampunk

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

Keep scrolling for more

Did You Know?

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

Gritty The new Philadelphia Flyers mascot and messy steampunk monster is a perfect choice for the proud single person out on the town. Bridget Read, Vogue, "Single This Halloween? 11 Costumes Guaranteed to Make You Stand Out From the Crowd," 12 Oct. 2018 Elsewhere at the cineplex this weekend, and unfortunately for Mortal Engines fans, the box office wasn’t especially kind to the Peter Jackson steampunk fantasy boondoggle. Alex Abad-santos, Vox, "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse won the box office with a $35 million opening weekend," 17 Dec. 2018 World of Warships has already added crossover play with Japanese anime show High School Fleet and steampunk-style ships in hopes of adding to the population. Gordon Mah Ung, PCWorld, "World of Warships dives deep for new players, adding submarines to popular naval combat game," 18 Sep. 2018 In this case, the film showcases a future that looks plenty familiar in anime and science fiction novels: a cluttered, rusted-out world that’s a little cyberpunk, a little steampunk, and a whole lot of classic anime series like Mobile Suit Gundam. Tasha Robinson, The Verge, "The Verge fall movie preview, December 2018," 7 Sep. 2018 Tickets for the steampunk ball are $15 in advance and $20 at the door. Anchorage Daily News, "Coming up: Backyard Country BBQ, Alaska Hempfest and a night of island and reggae music," 21 June 2018 LeCrone, a freelance cartoonist wearing full steampunk regalia, stood and surveyed the ballroom Saturday at the Town and Country Resort in Mission Valley, where science-fiction fans had gathered for the first-ever InterGalactiCon. Phil Diehl, sandiegouniontribune.com, "For comic book and sci-fi fans, there's a new con in town," 16 June 2018 The production designers must have had a field day creating the steampunk/art deco setting. Monica Castillo, kansascity, "High-profile cast makes ‘Hotel Artemis’ worth checking out," 7 June 2018 The retro-futuristic event (inspired by aesthetic designs and technology from the 19th century) featured artisans, musicians, and costumed characters, and attracted steampunk fans - as well as several members of photography clubs. Steve Smith, Courant Community, "Steampunk Station Takes Over Shops At Somerset Square," 21 May 2018

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.

See More

First Known Use of steampunk

1987, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for steampunk

steam entry 1 + cyberpunk

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about steampunk

Listen to Our Podcast about steampunk

Statistics for steampunk

Last Updated

8 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for steampunk

The first known use of steampunk was in 1987

See more words from the same year

Comments on steampunk

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

WORD OF THE DAY

to gather or build up little by little

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Homophone Quiz

  • three-bears-two-of-them-look-like-theyre-whispering-to-a-third-bear-who-looks-chuffed-to-be-the-center-of-attention
  • In order to judge how people felt, the senator's office hired a firm to take a ______.
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!