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 This event celebrates history, steampunk, science, classic sci-fi literature and more. Kelly Sundstrom, ajc, "Get nerdy Atlanta: February conventions in 2020," 21 Jan. 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: Jan. 31-Feb. 8," 30 Jan. 2020 The great robot guardians of Laputa are a wonder that inspired countless steampunk stories, but many of them succumb to the passage of time and plant overgrowth. Nick Romano,, "Studio Ghibli: A beginner's guide through the worlds of Spirited Away, Mononoke, and beyond," 24 Dec. 2019 But a demo of supposedly extra-tough window glass, involving what looked like a steampunk magician, went awry when a steel ball was able to smash two of the Cybertruck's windows. David Z. Morris, Fortune, "Tesla’s Cybertruck Stuns… For Better or For Worse," 22 Nov. 2019 Far from a traditional lever action, the BLR runs on a series of pinions and gears that would make a steampunk fan gasp for joy. Bryce M. Towsley, Field & Stream, "6 Best Deer Rifles for Hunting The Big Woods," 11 Nov. 2019 The steampunk-looking Blickensderfer 6 portable typewriter from 1906 (pictured) is light years from Eliot Noyes’ sleek Selectric typewriter developed for IBM’s business market in the early 1960s. Ross Rudesch Harley, Quartz, "Why we geek out over sleek interface designs," 14 Dec. 2019 Microsoft made HoloLens, a technically ambitious piece of eyewear that looked like round steampunk goggles and used augmented reality. Heather Kelly, Washington Post, "The most disappointing technologies of the decade: Face computers, space tourism and Juicero," 26 Dec. 2019 Dress up like your favorite steampunk or Gothic character — or don’t! John Wenzel, The Know, "The best New Year’s Eve 2019 live music to see in Denver and beyond," 19 Dec. 2019

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

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The first known use of steampunk was in 1987

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Statistics for steampunk

Last Updated

19 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Steampunk.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Feb. 2020.

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