\ 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 Rumors began swirling in December when the RodeoHouston genre calendar was revealed and included a March 10 K-pop date. Joey Guerra, Houston Chronicle, "BTS, Blackpink, Got7: Who will be the first K-pop act to perform at RodeoHouston?," 8 Jan. 2020 His innovations appealed to artists in other genres, too: The dub techno innovators Moritz von Oswald and Mark Ernestus started reissuing Wackie’s records on their Basic Channel label in 2001. Brandon Wilner, New York Times, "40 Years Later, Reggae’s Heart Still Beats in the Bronx," 5 Jan. 2020 Domino > Knives Out Brian De Palma reexamines his Millennial politics — depicting the War on Terror in a swift, effective genre exercise. Armond White, National Review, "The 15th Annual Better-Than List," 3 Jan. 2020 Every song crafts and fuses genres expertly, setting SF9 up as ones to watch for 2020. -- L. Singh 19. Billboard Staff, Billboard, "The 25 Best K-pop Albums of 2019: Critics' Picks," 31 Dec. 2019 Since his 2005 debut, the songwriter (and, of course, son of Waylon Jennings) has grappled with the genre’s single narrative by eluding it. oregonlive, "Live music in Portland: 25 January concerts you won’t want to miss," 30 Dec. 2019 Captain America: Winter Soldier, for instance, proved that the series could play with elements from other film genres (in this case, the paranoid spy thrillers of the 1970s). John Gilpatrick, Popular Mechanics, "The Marvel Decade: How Superheroes Ruled the Cinema in the 2010s," 26 Dec. 2019 The campaign video features genre-appropriate dark lighting, pensive music, a scratchy radio voice, a yellow hazmat suit, and a scared wide-eyed child with unkempt hair. Krista Kafer, The Denver Post, "Kafer: Romanoff political ad needs more zombies, less climate fear," 19 Dec. 2019 Concept-heavy, nine-piece Brooklyn funk band Turkuaz is part of a new breed of jam-friendly acts that flout genre boundaries the way most of us do speed limits. John Wenzel, The Know, "The best New Year’s Eve 2019 live music to see in Denver and beyond," 19 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.

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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

12 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Genre.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 23 January 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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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).


out of the ordinary or unreasonable

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