tele·​ge·​nic | \ ˌte-lə-ˈje-nik How to pronounce telegenic (audio) , -ˈjē- \

Definition of telegenic

: well-suited to the medium of television especially : having an appearance and manner that are markedly attractive to television viewers

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The History of Telegenic

Telegenic, which began to appear in print in the 1930s, is essentially a compound formed out of "television" and "photogenic." "Photogenic" is also the word that caused the addition of a new sense to "-genic," namely "suitable for production or reproduction by a given medium" (as in the occasionally seen "videogenic": "The '80s were a time that created a lot of videogenic bands who weren't necessarily compelling live artists...." - Ron Shapiro, quoted in Entertainment Weekly, September 25, 1998). "Telegenic" may seem like a word that would primarily refer to people, but there is evidence for telegenic events (such as popular sports), objects, and responses. Occasionally, one even sees reference to a telegenic attitude or other intangible.

Examples of telegenic in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Ms Gideon is telegenic and a prodigious fundraiser, raking in more this cycle than Ms Collins. The Economist, "The Maine Senate race The bid to unseat the last New England Republican in Congress," 20 June 2020 Her right-hand man at the briefings, Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield happened to be an expert in public health (and telegenic enough to inspire lovestruck music videos). Belinda Luscombe, Time, "Jacinda Ardern Helped New Zealand Beat Coronavirus. Next Up: Getting Re-Elected," 12 June 2020 He was dethroned by Charles Van Doren, the telegenic and suave son of an intellectually prominent family who at the time was a novice English instructor at Columbia University. Washington Post, "Herbert Stempel, whistleblower in quiz show scandals, dies at 93," 31 May 2020 He was dethroned by Van Doren, the telegenic and suave son of an intellectually prominent family who at the time was a novice English instructor at Columbia University. Robert D. Mcfadden,, "Herbert Stempel, whistle-blower in quiz show scandals, dies at 93," 31 May 2020 Conant, however, added that Biden would be boosted by a telegenic understudy. Naomi Lim, Washington Examiner, "Pugnacious attacker Biden's best bet for running mate," 11 Apr. 2020 The bags beneath her large blue eyes are already deep, and her telegenic charm, the charm that would captivate an entire country, is already there. Nadja Spiegelman, The New York Review of Books, "As Clean as Rage," 8 Apr. 2020 Elected to the Senate in 2013, Mr. Booker, the telegenic former mayor of Newark, was long seen as a rising star in the Democratic Party, destined for an eventual national campaign. Nick Corasaniti, New York Times, "Cory Booker Endorses Joe Biden as Candidates Race Toward More Primaries," 11 Mar. 2020 Her plight has resonated strongly with the Israeli public, which considered her punishment excessive and saw the telegenic Issachar as a pawn in world politics. Washington Post, "Israel PM meets with Putin, returns with freed tourist," 30 Jan. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'telegenic.' 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 telegenic

1936, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of telegenic was in 1936

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Last Updated

26 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Telegenic.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for telegenic


How to pronounce telegenic (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of telegenic

: tending to look good or seem likable on television

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