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steam +‎ -punk, by analogy to cyberpunk


steampunk (countable and uncountable, plural steampunks)

  1. (uncountable, neologism) A subgenre of speculative science fiction set in an anachronistic 19th century society.
    • 2008 May 8, Ruth La Ferla, “Steampunk Moves Between 2 Worlds”, New York Times:
      It is also the vision of steampunk, a subculture that is the aesthetic expression of a time-traveling fantasy world, one that embraces music, film, design and now fashion, all inspired by the extravagantly inventive age of dirigibles and steam locomotives, brass diving bells and jar-shaped protosubmarines.
  2. (countable, cosplay) A person cosplaying as a steampunk character.


steampunk (third-person singular simple present steampunks, present participle steampunking, simple past and past participle steampunked)

  1. (transitive) To depict in a steampunk manner.
    • 2011 26 October, John Lui, “Musketeers victim of identity crisis [review of The Three Musketeers (2011)]”, The Straits Times (Singapore) (Life! section):
      [Director Paul W.S.] Anderson's answer to the question of what to update in this film seems to be: steampunk everything. Hence the elaborate airship contraptions and weapons, all made in wood and iron and powered by choo-choo engines. What seems to be missing is the why. When far-fetched techno-bits and bobs are put into a story, these items must have a meaning and purpose. Here, the gadgets are throwaway items used for their visual effect, then discarded.