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

The History of Telegenic

Telegenic debuted in the 1930s, an offspring of television and photogenic, meaning "suitable for being photographed especially because of visual appeal." The word photogenic had other, more technical meanings before it developed that one in the early decades of the 20th century, but the modern meaning led to the sense of -genic that interests us here: "suitable for production or reproduction by a given medium." That sense is found in today's word, telegenic, as well as its synonym, videogenic. Telegenic may seem like a word that would primarily be used of people, but there is evidence for telegenic describing 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 From the start, this war has been fought both on the ground and in the information space, where Zelenskyy—savvy, telegenic, down-to-earth in his famous olive-drab T-shirts—has excelled. Rachel Donadio, Vogue, 26 July 2022 First Lady Michelle Bolsonaro, a telegenic evangelical who is almost three decades younger than her husband but has not played a major role in the government’s public relations, figured prominently in Sunday’s ceremony. Andre Pagliarini, The New Republic, 27 July 2022 Then came the #MeToo movement, and an actual election, in 2016, that pitted an eminently qualified woman against a telegenic, woefully unfit magnate. Katy Waldman, The New Yorker, 13 June 2022 Landmark clips by Michael Jackson and Madonna centered the telegenic star, inviting crushes and curiosity while also transporting the viewer to another reality—one of zombie dancers or messianic lovers. Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, 15 June 2022 Javid and Sunak are both telegenic, superficial, and right-of-center British politicians who are not known for their ideological stances or, indeed, for their moral character. Sam Knight, The New Yorker, 6 July 2022 But Sullivan, a youthful telegenic candidate, sought to bill himself as an untainted political outsider who pledged to restore family values and parental rights. Jeremy Gorner, Chicago Tribune, 28 June 2022 Naomi was more telegenic and engaging with crowds, while Wynonna was more reserved but a better singer. New York Times, 30 Apr. 2022 The far-right wing of the party once viewed Mr. Cawthorn, a telegenic congressman who uses a wheelchair after a car crash at the age of 18, as a young leader with potential. New York Times, 29 Apr. 2022 See More

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.

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

19 Sep 2022

Cite this Entry

“Telegenic.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Oct. 2022.

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