\ 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 The history genre has never been a great draw for me. Monitor Readers, The Christian Science Monitor, "The real deal: Nonfiction books our readers loved in 2020," 18 Dec. 2020 For a long time, the de-facto genre of assistantship stories was comedy, because societal roles were thought to be fixed, and straining against the order of things had funny outcomes. Nathan Heller, The New Yorker, "What if You Could Outsource Your To-Do List?," 30 Nov. 2020 The gangster genre is one of the most enduring in pop culture. Greg Braxton, Los Angeles Times, "America has an ‘unsettling’ love affair with gangsters. ‘Fargo’s’ cast is no different," 22 Nov. 2020 The newest genre is Amapiano, which has followed Gqom, a raw electronic music style that emerged from Durban, and with it the aim is to flex, not sweat. Fiona Kerr, Condé Nast Traveler, "Meet the Creatives Behind South Africa's Cultural Energy," 13 Nov. 2020 To them, the genre has never been in a better place. Gail Mitchell, Billboard, "Kehlani, Jhené Aiko, Teyana Taylor and Summer Walker on the State of R&B," 12 Nov. 2020 The horror genre is arguably one of the most versatile film genres. Claire Goodman, Chron, "SUNDAY CONVERSATION: Film expert explores horror movie genre during Halloween season," 1 Nov. 2020 Still, the genre itself wasn’t one into which Simien had ever planned to dive. Washington Post, "‘Bad Hair’ and 9 other scary movies where Black characters actually survive until the end," 23 Oct. 2020 Every season the coaches talk about how the rock genre is underrepresented but those contestants never seem to go too far. Maggie Fremont,, "The Voice recap: Kelly's out to block Blake tonight," 21 Oct. 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

12 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Genre.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Jan. 2021.

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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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