Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun Science fiction set in an alternate version of the historic past, especially 19th-century England, and involving advanced technologies usually based on steam power.
  • noun An aesthetic style inspired by steampunk fiction.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun uncountable, neologism A subgenre of speculative science fiction set in an anachronistic 19th century society.
  • noun countable, cosplay A person cosplaying as a steampunk character.
  • verb transitive To depict in a steampunk manner.

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Coined by Kevin Wayne Jeter (born 1950), American science fiction writer, on the model of cyberpunk.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

steam +‎ -punk, by analogy to cyberpunk

Examples

Comments

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  • Half the excitement about the online steampunk revival seems to source from the fact that it's only been done once before. That's what it comes to, in the anachronesis condition: it's exciting because it's only a bit old.

    Warren Ellis,

    http://suicidegirls.com/news/culture/22516/

    October 22, 2007

  • "Item of SF terminology coined in the late 1980s, on the analogy of cyberpunk, to describe the modern subgenre whose SF events take place against a 19th-century background." --Encylcopedia of Science Fiction, 1161.

    March 30, 2009

  • "steampunk is nothing more than what happens when goths discover brown" (Charles Stross)

    November 6, 2010