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 Read up on occult literature at Wicked Good Books and stock up on steampunk home decor at Emporium 32. Nico Amarca, Marie Claire, "How to Spend 24 Hours in Salem, Massachusetts," 21 Oct. 2019 The crowd at the Prisoner — a cult brand known for its steampunk vibe and big red blends that was purchased by wine industry powerhouse Constellation for $285 million in 2016 — runs the gamut from college age to Boomer. David Ferry,, "Why Wine Country isn’t attracting Millennials," 16 Oct. 2019 An adaptation of the Jules Verne novel, the movie takes place in 1868 as Professor Pierre M. Aronnax, his assistant Conseil, and harpooner Ned Land discover the Nautilus, a steampunk-esque submarine captained by the mysterious Captain Nemo. Lauren Hill,, "12 must-see Disney movies, TV shows coming to Disney+, according to a childless fan," 15 Oct. 2019 Or perhaps a pair of two-toned leather boots, paired with black driving gloves for a chic update on steampunk? Vogue, "2000s or 1800s? Why Fashion Is Revisiting the Victorian Era," 27 Mar. 2019 David Carlson, aka Oddball Newt, coordinates this as one of his year long steampunk activities around Connecticut., "Community News For The Manchester Edition," 28 Aug. 2019 Music will also fill the air with a capella group Time Was, Alex Forest performing on the Webster Bank block, and steampunk groups playing inside the Army Navy Club., "Community News For The Manchester Edition," 28 Aug. 2019 The Vorrh trilogy mixes elements of fantasy, sci-fi, steampunk, historical fiction, surrealism, horror, and just about every other genre into one expansive story. Adam Epstein, Quartzy, "George R.R. Martin may never finish those books. Here’s what to read while you wait," 24 Aug. 2019 The design is dynamic with a lot of steampunk touches, especially Eugene Lee’s terrific clockwork set that’s dominated, for no particular reason aside from looking cool, by a mechanical dragon atop the faux proscenium. Sam Hurwitt, The Mercury News, "Review: Back in Bay Area, ‘Wicked’ is a stirring ode to resistance," 16 Aug. 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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Statistics for steampunk

Last Updated

12 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for steampunk

The first known use of steampunk was in 1987

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