\ 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

Keep scrolling for more

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
See More
Recent Examples on the Web For that sub-genre, crime aficionados are more likely to think of Dorothy L. Sayers or P.D. James. The Economist, "Class acts A campus mystery that pays homage to Agatha Christie," 25 Jan. 2020 Love was in the air last August as 162 U.S. bookstores celebrated Bookstore Romance Day, a salute to the romance genre. oregonlive, "‘Debunking Howard Zinn’: Portland talk will feature critic of ‘A People’s History of the United States’," 17 Jan. 2020 The idea that developer Valve, the company behind the digital distribution platform Steam, would ever release a follow-up to the genre defining Half-Life franchise has become a joke. Matthew Gault, Time, "The 8 Video Games We Can't Wait to Play in 2020," 17 Jan. 2020 Musically, this year’s event is focused on one of the greatest living entertainers in any genre, Stevie Wonder. Kelly Dearmore, Dallas News, "The Black Academy of Arts and Letters concert to highlight music of Stevie Wonder," 17 Jan. 2020 The most compelling character actually turns out to be Yennefer, which isn't enough to make the series feel like more than a tepid addition to an already-saturated genre. Brian Lowry, CNN, "'The Witcher' swings into action as a weak 'Game of Thrones' wannabe," 20 Dec. 2019 But what’s fascinating is that pitch is a liquid that appears to be a solid, leading to the genre of pitch drop experiments, where a piece of pitch is left alone to drip at its staggering natural rate of once every 10 years. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, "This 5,700-Year-Old Chewing Gum Contains a Complete Human Genome," 19 Dec. 2019 Now for some quick hits: Running Greats The big addition to the genre this year was Matthew Futterman’s Running to the Edge, which tells the story of pioneering distance coach Bob Larsen. Alex Hutchinson, Outside Online, "The 2019 Sweat Science Holiday Book List," 7 Dec. 2019 In June, Marble decided to open a bar dedicated to the genre and in July found the perfect spot in south Tempe. Tirion Morris, azcentral, "Marauders is now open. Here's what you need to know about Tempe's new pirate-themed bar," 7 Dec. 2019

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about genre

Time Traveler for genre

Time Traveler

The first known use of genre was in 1770

See more words from the same year

Statistics for genre

Last Updated

26 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Genre.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 26 January 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for genre


How to pronounce genre (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of genre

: a particular type or category of literature or art

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on genre

What made you want to look up genre? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to express in a more acceptable way

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Intact Latin Quiz

  • roman tablet
  • What did focus mean in Latin?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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