ˈzhän-rə How to pronounce genre (audio)
: a category of artistic, musical, or literary composition characterized by a particular style, form, or content
a classic of the gothic novel genre
: kind, sort
: painting that depicts scenes or events from everyday life usually realistically

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
Recent Examples on the Web The track stands as their only top 10 on the radio list, which is shocking given how successful the band has been in those genres for so many years. Hugh McIntyre, Forbes, 16 Feb. 2024 Pope is not the only former country singer who decided to depart the genre. Stephen Daw, Billboard, 16 Feb. 2024 Additionally, while other movie franchises have begun to lose steam, Warner Bros said The Nun II (the 6th film in The Conjuring universe) crossed $250 million in the global box office, making the series the highest-grossing in the horror genre of all time. Eleanor Pringle, Fortune, 15 Feb. 2024 Twenty-four years ago today, two strangers got legally married on live television, and the modern reality TV genre was born., 15 Feb. 2024 But while fans might be surprised by this specific collaboration, they should be used to seeing Yachty step out of his comfort zone to dabble in new genres. Kory Grow, Rolling Stone, 14 Feb. 2024 There’s an alternate timeline where A Love Story is a solid romantic comedy instead of a confusing clash of forms and genres. Lovia Gyarkye, The Hollywood Reporter, 14 Feb. 2024 Fox, meanwhile, will report to CEO Jennifer Mullin and oversee the company’s unscripted strategy and the development and sales of original series in the unscripted genre. Caroline Brew, Variety, 13 Feb. 2024 The continuity of the artistic process allows Williams to find throughlines between the genre and her work. Essence, 13 Feb. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'genre.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

1770, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of genre was in 1770

Dictionary Entries Near genre

Cite this Entry

“Genre.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


ˈzhän-rə How to pronounce genre (audio)
: a particular type or category of literary, musical, or artistic composition


More from Merriam-Webster on genre

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!