\ 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 Details on the project, including plot or even genre, have yet to be revealed, but the movie is slated for release July 22, 2022. Maureen Lee Lenker,, "Steven Yeun and Jordan Peele? The Oscar-nominated actor's next project sounds like a dream team," 1 Apr. 2021 The track, released on Geffen/Interscope Records, spends a fourth week at No. 1 on Pop Airplay and a second week atop the all-genre Radio Songs chart, with 72.3 million audience impressions in the week ending March 21, according to MRC Data. Gary Trust, Billboard, "Olivia Rodrigo's 'Drivers License' Rides to No. 1 on Adult Pop Airplay Chart," 24 Mar. 2021 Humans have a habit of making prisons of things intended to free them: religion, genre, identity, love. Briana Younger, Vulture, "Remaking R&B in Serpentwithfeet’s Image," 23 Mar. 2021 The cut has now controlled the all-genre list for 15 nonconsecutive turns. Hugh Mcintyre, Forbes, "BTS Hold Off New Hits From Drake, Justin Bieber And Bruno Mars To Stay At No. 1 On The Sales Chart," 19 Mar. 2021 The same goes for soul heaven, blues heaven, bluegrass heaven, country heaven and every-other-genre-of-music heaven. Washington Post, "Friday at the Birchmere: A living tribute to the musical artists we lost in 2020," 15 Mar. 2021 Such a Beautiful Day eschew genre for the most part, whereas World of Tomorrow embraces a lot of sci-fi conventions. Claire Shaffer, Rolling Stone, "The Persistence of Memory: Don Hertzfeldt on the ‘World of Tomorrow’ Trilogy," 11 Mar. 2021 In a franchise — and genre — known to profit from showy fight scenes, a few red blasts of light, though paltry, are more visually appealing and simpler to execute than abilities that bend reality and challenge consciousness. New York Times, "What ‘WandaVision’ Gets Right (and Wrong) About Female Superheroes," 11 Mar. 2021 In the past few years, the musical icon biopic—a distinct sub-genre of films, which are often titled after one of the subject's songs—has come into vogue. Annie Goldsmith, Town & Country, "Naomi Ackie to Play Whitney Houston in New Biopic, I Wanna Dance With Somebody," 16 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

6 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Genre.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Apr. 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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Comments on genre

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