\ 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 Intersections Festival at Atlas Performing Arts Center: The Atlas Performing Arts Center’s annual Intersections Festival lives up to its name, with performances and events that span all sorts of genres. Washington Post, "13 things to do in the D.C. area this week," 18 Feb. 2020 Kuduro is an energetic trans-Atlantic clash of genres — including hip-hop, house, zouk and soca — and Pongo adds extra layers, blending them with current electronic styles and mixing in a contemporary pop flavor. Kate Hutchinson, New York Times, "Pongo Turns Her Struggles Into Pop," 17 Feb. 2020 Cactus Music regularly hosts in-store performances and meet and greets from artists of all genres. Joey Guerra, Houston Chronicle, "Houston fans brave cold, rain for a moment with Prince Royce," 12 Feb. 2020 Grammys 2020 celebrated some of the best and brightest in the world of music on Sunday night, January 26, bringing together musicians of all genres to see who would take home one of the coveted awards. Gabe Bergado, Teen Vogue, "Grammys 2020: Funniest Moments and Memes," 27 Jan. 2020 Every year, the Michigan Notable Books list from the Library of Michigan features 20 books of various genres published the previous calendar year. Ellen Piligian, Detroit Free Press, "Poetry, a cookbook and reflections on Detroit history make Michigan Notable Books list," 19 Jan. 2020 From there, rock and roll becomes the centerpiece of a tree diagram, directly and indirectly connected to a seemingly endless number of musical genres. cleveland, "Don’t think Whitney and Biggie belong in the Rock Hall? OK Boomer," 17 Jan. 2020 Most broadcast networks invest their programming resources in a range of genres and styles to appeal to the widest swathe of the population as possible. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Fox executive teases Browncoats with hints of possible Firefly revival," 9 Jan. 2020 In the years that followed, the festival evolved to include a wider range of genres like EDM, pop, hip hop, and soul. Ineye Komonibo,, "The Coachella Lineup Is Out & There Are No Women Headliners," 6 Jan. 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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Time Traveler for genre

Time Traveler

The first known use of genre was in 1770

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Statistics for genre

Last Updated

23 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Genre.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for genre


How to pronounce genre (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of genre

: a particular type or category of literature or art

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