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

Essential Meaning of genre

: a particular type or category of literature or art a literary/film/musical genre This book is a classic of the mystery genre.

Full 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

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 The title would lead you to expect an over-the-top satire of an already over-the-top genre, but this sendup of psycho-thrillers is, in its early episodes, surprisingly understated. New York Times, 6 Jan. 2022 This shouldn’t be too surprising for a family-friendly studio, considering the Academy’s genre bias and its favoring of dramas and biopics. Clayton Davis, Variety, 6 Jan. 2022 That’s why Dumont presents France through several genre signifiers: Her seduction at a sanitarium by a handsome journalist (Emanuele Arioli) evokes Thomas Mann’s Magic Mountain. Armond White, National Review, 5 Jan. 2022 But West and Ward were at the same wild cinematic party, and its achievements grew more singular as genre history turned against it. Darren Franich,, 5 Jan. 2022 Arca always pushes us out of our musical comfort zones, experimenting with form and genre in ways that are unwieldy and can feel uncontainable, but are always beautiful. Amel Mukhtar, Vogue, 5 Jan. 2022 The better episodes of each sprinkle dusty old genre tropes onto familiar Star Wars iconography, until both somehow seem new and sparkling. Alan Sepinwall, Rolling Stone, 5 Jan. 2022 In her debut album, Skin, which dropped in October, the soundscape glides across genre, giving clues at her other inspirations (Solange, Kate Nash, Billie Holiday, D’Angelo). Sara Tardiff, Harper's BAZAAR, 5 Jan. 2022 The city’s genre-blurring club culture is further melted down at Boogaclub, a small and beloved dance venue. Ben Reynolds, Travel, 4 Jan. 2022

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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Last Updated

12 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Genre.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Jan. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on genre

Nglish: Translation of genre for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of genre for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about genre


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