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 Now, celeb hosts are taking a back seat to very telegenic dogs while the pups do tricks, solve puzzles, and get makeovers. Rebecca Alter, Vulture, 7 July 2021 Young, accessible, telegenic, equally at ease talking foreign policy on news shows and posting dog photos on social media. Washington Post, 28 May 2021 Like that family, Haart’s clan is telegenic, with the rare alchemical skill of turning the mundane (eating salad, doing paid Instagram promotions) into high drama. Jenny Singer, Glamour, 14 July 2021 His interviewer was a telegenic broadcaster with gelled black hair named Yair Lapid. Ruth Margalit, The New Yorker, 13 June 2021 In theory, Lapid, a telegenic centrist, could still manage to meet a June 2 deadline to patch together a governing coalition with a 61-seat Knesset majority, especially if Bennett changes his mind and returns to the table. Dina Kraft, Los Angeles Times, 23 May 2021 The most telegenic bits, though, feel bona fide haunted — a grotty, Dionysian Manhattan, the woefully short life spans of it-girls and superstars, a blazing era for rock, punk, jazz and soul. Washington Post, 19 May 2021 The optics of opulent hypocrisy — a wealthy, telegenic governor celebrating a lobbyist’s birthday at an ultra-exclusive restaurant after pleading with Californians to stay home — catalyzed a groundswell of anger. Julia Wick, Los Angeles Times, 27 Apr. 2021 Differences in background or class sometimes arise, but the telegenic oomph makes up for it. New York Times, 21 Apr. 2021

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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Time Traveler for telegenic

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The first known use of telegenic was in 1936

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Last Updated

2 Aug 2021

Cite this Entry

“Telegenic.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Aug. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of telegenic

: tending to look good or seem likable on television

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