post·​mod·​ern | \ ˌpōs(t)-ˈmä-dərn How to pronounce postmodern (audio) , nonstandard -ˈmä-d(ə-)rən \

Definition of postmodern

1 : of, relating to, or being an era after a modern one postmodern times a postmodern metropolis
2a : of, relating to, or being any of various movements in reaction to modernism that are typically characterized by a return to traditional materials and forms (as in architecture) or by ironic self-reference and absurdity (as in literature)
b : of, relating to, or being a theory that involves a radical reappraisal of modern assumptions about culture, identity, history, or language postmodern feminism

Other Words from postmodern

postmodernism \ ˌpōs(t)-​ˈmä-​dər-​ˌni-​zəm How to pronounce postmodern (audio) \ noun
postmodernist \ ˌpōs(t)-​ˈmä-​dər-​nist How to pronounce postmodern (audio) \ adjective or noun
postmodernity \ ˌpōs(t)-​mə-​ˈdər-​ne-​tē How to pronounce postmodern (audio) , -​mä-​ also  -​ˈder-​ \ noun

Examples of postmodern in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Even a postmodern sensation like the inventor and entrepreneur Jay S. Walker’s library, built in 2002 in Ridgefield, Conn. — which is dedicated to the history of human imagination and laid out like an M.C. New York Times, 24 Dec. 2021 Her work acknowledges the power that stories have to shape reality; her sensibilities were thus also squarely postmodern. Megan Garber, The Atlantic, 23 Dec. 2021 Tim Broslav is one of Golden’s postmodern pioneers. Sarah Matusek, The Christian Science Monitor, 7 Dec. 2021 The curriculum was intensive and eccentric—postmodern dance, commedia dell’arte, mask work. Rachel Syme, The New Yorker, 29 Nov. 2021 Just as Ross’ menswear is influenced by architecture and abstraction, like the hard-edge painters of the 1960s, like Barnett Newman and Frank Stella, though he’s really influenced by postmodern sculpture from the late 1950s to the 1980s. Nadja Sayej, Forbes, 6 Dec. 2021 Dallas’s postmodern cityscapes offer a conception — though largely unrealized — of how car-centric cities can carve out communal urban spaces tailored to their logic. New York Times, 30 Nov. 2021 This show had been diarized as a postmodern trunk show, a fancy client-facing event to coincide with Art Basel that was more stanza than chapter in the ongoing narrative of Abloh at Vuitton. Luke Leitch, Vogue, 30 Nov. 2021 Denialism about the existence of McDonald’s surely endears many readers to him, but Sebald represents something deeper about the postmodern intellectual situation. Lauren Oyler, Harper's Magazine, 23 Nov. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'postmodern.' 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 postmodern

1916, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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The first known use of postmodern was in 1916

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Last Updated

8 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Postmodern.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Jan. 2022.

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English Language Learners Definition of postmodern

: of or relating to postmodernism


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