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Consider this sentence from my novel:

The steampunk-esque device was a gift.

The Google n-gram viewer shows no results for either "steampunkesque" or "steampunk-esque." However, when searching the web, I find websites that use both variations.

Is it correct or at least reasonable to write the sentence in that way? Is there a better formulation that maintains the original compactness?

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    It's worth considering a few other ways to phrase it, such as "it oozed steampunk". – Hot Licks Jan 3 at 0:26
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    This suffix -esque is often used in situations like this to modify other words and create new ones that aren't strictly defined. On first use, stylistically, you may or may not want to put it in italics in order to signify you know that you are coining the word. – Jason Bassford Jan 3 at 0:31
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    I'm not sure that steampunk needs or merits a suffix, but perhaps the redoubtable -y or -ish might serve. ("Steampunk-esque" seems so steampunkische...) – Rob_Ster Jan 3 at 0:36
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It is unfortunate that the term punkish has such a poor connotation and the generic steam-punx got combined into steampunks.

steam-punk was coined in late 1980's supposedly as a repartee to cyberpunk which was supposedly coined in early 1980's (after the trendy 70's punk era) so its no surprise that the corresponding term would likely follow https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/cyberpunkish

Thus I am forced to offer that the most appropriate term would be steampunkish

Derived terms
steampunker
steampunkish
steampunky

  • Interesting, I hadn't thought along those lines. N-gram also has zero hits for steampunkish, though the latest date it will allow is 2008. – Eric J. Jan 3 at 1:38

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