\ 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 But more typically a writer will produce only a single work or two in the genre. Silvia Moreno-garcia And Lavie Tidhar, Washington Post, "Ever wonder what might have been? Here are some scenarios, courtesy of science fiction," 12 Mar. 2020 Blanche was not the first Black detective, and Neely was not the first Black author, in the genre of detective fiction. Emily Langer,, "Barbara Neely, author of Blanche White mystery series, dies at 78," 11 Mar. 2020 County-seat battles and cattle-baron-versus-homesteader wars are, of course, faithful perennials in the Western genre. Ian Frazier, The New York Review of Books, "Never Before Seen in the West," 25 Feb. 2020 Judging panels of writers who specialize in each genre select finalists and winners. Los Angeles Times, "The Los Angeles Times to Honor Walter Mosley and WriteGirl at the 40th Annual Book Prizes," 19 Feb. 2020 Dreams, by presenting players with a set of tools nearly as powerful and flexible as those used by professional game makers, represents a major step change in the genre. Simon Parkin, The New Yorker, "The Video Game That Lets You Make Video Games," 19 Feb. 2020 Labels have power in a genre where radio is essential to building a fan base. Nikki Battiste, CBS News, "Fans want to hear more female artists on country radio, but stations lag behind," 17 Feb. 2020 First, Detroit has been a pizza city for a long time (see: 2020 Restaurant of the Year Classic), but the metro area is undoubtedly more impressive in that genre thanks to a whole crop of pizza slingers that set up shop last year. Mark Kurlyandchik, Detroit Free Press, "Our Restaurant of the Year, Best New Restaurants list will have unmistakable theme," 12 Feb. 2020 Your taste in music might contain multitudes, but there's one thing that can be found in any genre: sad love songs. Glamour, "51 Best Sad Love Songs for a Broken Heart," 11 Feb. 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

22 Mar 2020

Cite this Entry

“Genre.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Apr. 2020.

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How to pronounce genre (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of genre

: a particular type or category of literature or art

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