[ pohst-mod-er-niz-uh m ]
/ poʊstˈmɒd ərˌnɪz əm /


(sometimes initial capital letter) any of a number of trends or movements in the arts and literature developing in the 1970s in reaction to or rejection of the dogma, principles, or practices of established modernism, especially a movement in architecture and the decorative arts running counter to the practice and influence of the International Style and encouraging the use of elements from historical vernacular styles and often playful illusion, decoration, and complexity.

Origin of postmodernism

First recorded in 1970–75; post- + modernism

OTHER WORDS FROM postmodernism

post·mod·ern·ist, noun, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Examples from the Web for postmodernism

Cultural definitions for postmodernism


A movement, particularly in architecture, that reacted against the pared-down modern school by reintroducing classical and traditional elements of style. An example of this style is Philip Johnson's AT Building in New York City.

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.