tele·​ge·​nic ˌte-lə-ˈje-nik How to pronounce telegenic (audio)
: well-suited to the medium of television
especially : having an appearance and manner that are markedly attractive to television viewers

Did you know?

The History of Telegenic

Telegenic debuted in the 1930s, a melding of television with photogenic, “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 use of -genic of interest here: “suitable for production or reproduction by a given medium.” (That sense is also found in the rarer videogenic, a synonym of telegenic.) Telegenic may seem like a word that would primarily be used to describe people, but there is evidence of telegenic describing events (such as popular sports), objects, and responses. Occasionally, one even sees reference to a telegenic attitude, presence, charisma, or other intangible.

Examples of telegenic in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web When, after the post-war years of austerity and misery, the country established itself once again in the 1960s as a world power to be reckoned with, thanks to the dual strengths of the canny Prime Minister Harold Wilson and the telegenic young Queen. Alexander Larman, TIME, 5 May 2024 His telegenic quality belies his isolation from the media ecosystem. Kyle Chayka, The New Yorker, 17 Apr. 2024 Anyway, what's new for the reigning champion Chiefs is that their talented and telegenic tight end, Travis Kelce, is dating the reigning most-successful and -adored entertainer on the planet. Neal Rubin, Detroit Free Press, 18 Jan. 2024 Recent weeks have proven the exception to the rule though, as the telegenic Prince Harry set the media aflame. Rhonda Garelick, New York Times, 13 Jan. 2023 Cooking segments are a staple of morning and daytime television, as telegenic chefs make picture-perfect looking dishes in a seemingly impossible short amount of time. Dalton Ross,, 17 Mar. 2023 Through late summer and into the fall of 2020, the relationship between Trump and Fauci deteriorated, but the president declined to sideline the telegenic doctor. Noah Rothman, National Review, 11 Jan. 2024 Bachmann, like Boebert, was a telegenic conservative female House member with a knack for drawing national attention. David Mark, Washington Examiner, 12 Jan. 2024 But does the telegenic governor’s very appearance on the national stage cause Democratic voters to long for a younger, robust alternative to the 81-year-old incumbent who looks frail? George Skelton, Los Angeles Times, 2 Dec. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'telegenic.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1936, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of telegenic was in 1936


Dictionary Entries Near telegenic

Cite this Entry

“Telegenic.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 May. 2024.

More from Merriam-Webster on telegenic

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!