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genre

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noun \ˈzhän-rə, ˈzhäⁿ-; ˈzhäⁿr; ˈjän-rə\

Simple Definition of genre

  • : a particular type or category of literature or art

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of genre

  1. 1 :  a category of artistic, musical, or literary composition characterized by a particular style, form, or content

  2. 2 :  kind, sort

  3. 3 :  painting that depicts scenes or events from everyday life usually realistically

Examples of genre in a sentence

  1. In genre fiction there is an implied contract between writer and reader that justice of a kind will be exacted; “good” may not always triumph over “evil,” but the distinction between the two must be honored. —Joyce Carol Oates, New York Review of Books, 14 Aug. 2003

  2. One of the first marketers outside of hip-hop to recognize the power of the genre … . he first sent models sashaying down the runway in 1991 in hip-hop chic, with sneakers and chunky gold chains… —Johnnie L. Roberts, Newsweek, 2 Sept. 2002

  3. Even the local Catholic archdiocesan weekly, hardly an exciting genre, offers a more provocative sampling of opinion on its editorial page. —Walker Percy, “New Orleans Mon Amour,” 1968, in Signposts in a Strange Land, 1991

  4. This book is a classic of the mystery genre.

  5. <the novel's hero is of a different genre than the traditional kind>



Did You Know?

Genre, as you might guess from the way it sounds, comes straight from French, a language based on Latin. It's closely related to genus, a word you may have encountered in biology class. Both words contain the gen- root because they indicate that everything in a particular category (a genre or a genus) belongs to the same "family" and thus has the same origins. So the main genres of classical music would include symphonies, sonatas, and opera, and the major genres of literature would include novels, short stories, poetry, and drama. But within the category of novels, we could also say that detective novels, sci-fi novels, romance novels, and young-adult novels are separate genres.

Origin and Etymology of genre

French, from Middle French, kind, gender — more at gender


First Known Use: 1770



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