[ frang-kuh n-stahyn ]
/ ˈfræŋ kənˌstaɪn /


a person who creates a monster or a destructive agency that cannot be controlled or that brings about the creator's ruin.
Also called Frankenstein monster. the monster or destructive agency itself.

Origin of Frankenstein

First recorded in 1830–40; after a character in Mary Shelley's novel of the same name (1818)

Related formsFrank·en·stein·i·an, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for frankensteinian


/ (ˈfræŋkɪnˌstaɪn) /


a person who creates something that brings about his ruin
Also called: Frankenstein's monster a thing that destroys its creator
Derived FormsFrankensteinian, adjective

Word Origin for Frankenstein

C19: after Baron Frankenstein, who created a destructive monster from parts of corpses in the novel by Mary Shelley (1818)

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for frankensteinian


allusive use dates to 1838, from Baron Frankenstein (German, "free stone"), character in Mary Shelley's 1818 novel "Frankenstein: The Modern Prometheus." Commonly used, mistakenly, as the proper name of the monster he created, and thus franken- extended 1990s as a prefix to mean "non-natural."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Culture definitions for frankensteinian


(1818) A novel by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley. The title character, Dr. Victor Frankenstein, makes a manlike monster from parts of cadavers and brings it to life by the power of an electrical charge. Frankenstein's monster is larger than most men and fantastically strong.


Frequently the subject of horror films, the monster is usually pictured with an oversized square brow, metal bolts in his neck and forehead, and greenish skin. People often mistakenly refer to the monster, rather than to his creator, as “Frankenstein.”

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.