tele·​ge·​nic | \ˌte-lə-ˈje-nik, -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

The effect is pure Diana—instantaneous, telegenic warmth. Mattie Kahn, Glamour, "No One Did Denim Better Than Princess Diana," 21 Aug. 2018 Photo: ulises ruiz/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images Having been kicked out of power in 2000, the PRI won back the presidency six years ago with Enrique Peña Nieto, a telegenic candidate. Santiago Pérez, WSJ, "Mexico Vote Snubs the Political Establishment," 2 July 2018 But there’s a problem with the telegenic white people in the Kavanaugh picture: one of them is President George W. Bush. Margaret Hartmann, Daily Intelligencer, "Trump’s Supreme Court Pageant Could Come Down to Looks," 5 July 2018 Their telegenic union may be a lesson in overcoming the orthodoxies that divide us. New York Times, "Margaret Hoover and John Avlon on their Post-Partisan Marriage," 11 July 2018 The telegenic, fashion-forward lawyer representing adult-film actress Stormy Daniels (Stephanie Clifford), in her contract dispute with the president of the United States, has nevertheless turned quite a few heads over the past two months. Rachel Dodes, Vanities, "Michael Avenatti Is “Very Flattered” That You Think He’s a Style Icon," 17 May 2018 In the space of a month, Jackson has gone from the accomplished, telegenic and widely admired White House doctor for three presidents to a disgraced nominee dogged by allegations of misconduct. David Lauter,, "Standing close to Trump puts aides in the firing line," 27 Apr. 2018 Even the telegenic Pope Francis, who has skillfully used news conferences and interviews to broadcast his agenda, has discovered the price of engagement with the media. Francis X. Rocca, WSJ, "Even the Pope’s ‘Supreme’ Power Has Its Limits," 29 Apr. 2018 This telegenic, tattooed talent is turning out some of the most exciting, balanced and delicious flavors South Beach has ever seen. Victoria Pesce Elliott, miamiherald, "Why this restaurant earned our first ‘Exceptional’ review in two years. (Hint: its talented tattooed chef) | Miami Herald," 5 Apr. 2018

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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Statistics for telegenic

Last Updated

22 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for telegenic

The first known use of telegenic was in 1936

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English Language Learners Definition of telegenic

: tending to look good or seem likable on television

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with telegenic

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