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 But Paige thrived in musicals and struggled to find satisfying roles as the genre fell out of favor. Gina Piccalo, Los Angeles Times, 3 June 2024 Known for his roles in genre television, Quinto first broke through with his performance as superpower-stealing serial killer Sylar in NBC's Heroes. Christian Holub,, 3 June 2024 The swelling Indian population in Canada buoys the genre. Sara Miller Llana, The Christian Science Monitor, 31 May 2024 Filming will take place in the U.K., home to Arthur Conan Doyle and Agatha Christie, legends who defined the mystery genre. Eliana Dockterman, TIME, 30 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for genre 

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 13 Jun. 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

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