\ ˈzhän-rə How to pronounce genre (audio) , ˈzhäⁿ-; ˈzhäⁿr; ˈjän-rə \

Definition of genre

1 : a category of artistic, musical, or literary composition characterized by a particular style, form, or content a classic of the gothic novel genre
2 : kind, sort
3 : painting that depicts scenes or events from everyday life usually realistically

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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.

Examples of genre in a Sentence

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 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 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 Land1991 This book is a classic of the mystery genre. the novel's hero is of a different genre than the traditional kind
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Recent Examples on the Web No David Letterman, alas, and no Jay Leno, two of the most important figures in the genre., "This week’s TV: A long look at late night, a new ‘Mosquito Coast,’ and the return of ‘Pose’," 26 Apr. 2021 Notably, in 2006, BBC Three introduced Little Miss Jocelyn – the sketch comedy which was written by and starring Jocelyn Jee Esien and the first ever of its genre to be done so by a Black woman. Essence, "How Michaela Coel's Work Displays The Limitlessness Of Black Britishness," 19 Apr. 2021 Urban: Our genre has a long history of women in that category from Barbara Mandrell on. Melinda Newman, Billboard, "Hosts Keith Urban and Mickey Guyton on What to Expect at the 2021 ACM Awards," 16 Apr. 2021 People tend to listen to channels that play their favorite genre, such as pop, classic rock or country music; news/talk; sports; or even podcasts. Michelle Abdow, Forbes, "Media Consumption Is Over The Top: How Much And Where To Spend Is Key To Maximizing ROI," 8 Apr. 2021 Yet this weekend feels like an inflection point for the entertainment industry and its most lucrative genre. Frank Pallotta, CNN, "Superheroes are shifting to streaming. That could change everything," 19 Mar. 2021 The Twin Cities folk duo had joined the conversation with Freelon over the summer to add diversity to that local festival and knew of their genre's troubles with inclusivity. Chris Riemenschneider, Star Tribune, "5 artists of color to celebrate in kids music after Grammys controversy," 25 Jan. 2021 But what separated Withers’ music from other artists in his genre was his folk style. Troy L. Smith, cleveland, "50 greatest Rock & Roll Hall of Fame albums of 1971," 22 Jan. 2021 This is all enough to make Hades a serviceable example of its genre. Ars Staff, Ars Technica, "Ars Technica’s best games of 2020," 22 Dec. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'genre.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of genre

1770, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for genre

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

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Learn More about genre

Statistics for genre

Last Updated

30 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Genre.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for genre



English Language Learners Definition of genre

: a particular type or category of literature or art

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