steampunk

noun
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 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, courant.com, "Steampunk enthusiasts gathering at Hill-Stead in Farmington," 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, "Learn something new while having fun with these deals on DIY kits," 26 Sep. 2020 The tale of adventure is set in a steampunk, sci-fi version of Indianapolis. Domenica Bongiovanni, The Indianapolis Star, "For your reading list: A New York Times bestseller is among Indiana Authors Awards winners," 1 Sep. 2020 Korra—a messy steampunk yarn to Avatar’s dreamy agrarian myth—has always invited viewers to make these sorts of comparisons. Emma Grey Ellis, Wired, "You Hate The Legend of Korra for All the Wrong Reasons," 25 Aug. 2020 For his aerocar straight out of steampunk fantasy, Leyat chose a name inspired by the ancient Greek word for spiral, as in helix and helicopter, which was undoubtedly less demonic-sounding to Parisians than to modern English speakers. Popular Mechanics, "This Was Once the Most Preposterous Vehicle Known to Man," 24 Mar. 2020 How to watch: Rent from various outlets A breakout debut for its French directors, Delicatessen laid out an aesthetic that would dominate movie design throughout the ’90s, a steampunk future with a ramshackle DIY quality to its technology. David Sims, The Atlantic, "22 Movies About the End of the World to Watch Now," 18 Apr. 2020 Synchronicity Theatre’s re-imagining of J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic with five actors, acrobatics and exciting fight scenes — with a steampunk twist. Shane Harrison, ajc, "Things to do in and around Atlanta: Feb. 21-29," 20 Feb. 2020 Synchronicity Theatre’s re-imagining of J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic with five actors, acrobatics and exciting fight scenes — with a steampunk twist. Shane Harrison, ajc, "Things to do in and around Atlanta: Feb. 21-29," 20 Feb. 2020

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.

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First Known Use of steampunk

1987, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for steampunk

steam entry 1 + cyberpunk

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Time Traveler for steampunk

Time Traveler

The first known use of steampunk was in 1987

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Cite this Entry

“Steampunk.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/steampunk. Accessed 2 Mar. 2021.

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