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

Mueller’s halting, monosyllabic style could hardly be described as telegenic and, in this case, the book was better than the movie. Lynn Yaeger, Vogue, "Everything You Need to Know About the Mueller Hearing," 24 July 2019 Lucas, who declined to participate in the competition, coughed up an inert, impenetrable block of concrete building material for her stodgy, gray, eminently un-telegenic sculpture. Los Angeles Times, "Review: Sarah Lucas show at the Hammer Museum is naked but definitely not afraid," 17 July 2019 The heir to his throne was a 20-year-old from Prince George’s County who’d recently wowed Olympic viewers with his sensational hand speed and telegenic smile. Childs Walker,, "Gervonta Davis’ homecoming fight brings attention to Baltimore’s overlooked boxing history," 25 July 2019 There’s nothing in the earliest episodes about his origins as a production assistant on local television, or his entry into politics repackaging Richard Nixon into a more telegenic product. Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic, "The Loudest Voice Stops Short of Revealing Roger Ailes," 27 June 2019 Curry tied for 11th last year after placing fourth in 2017 at the telegenic tournament. Cam Inman, The Mercury News, "Tahoe golf: Steph Curry in feature group with Justin Timberlake, Tony Romo," 10 July 2019 Onstage, the red, white and blue digital graphics gave the production — beamed out live on NBC, MSNBC and Telemundo with some recurring sound and transmission screw-ups — an invitingly crisp, telegenic look. Peter Marks, Washington Post, "The opening night of Campaign 2020 kind of laid an egg," 27 June 2019 On the strength of her telegenic personality and her 48 L.P.G.A. victories, which included three majors, Lopez broadened the audience, and appetite, for women’s golf. Karen Crouse, New York Times, "L.P.G.A. Has an Abundance of Stars but Scarcely a Stage," 24 June 2019 On the strength of her telegenic personality and her 48 LPGA victories, which included three majors, Lopez broadened the audience, and appetite, for women’s golf. Karen Crouse,, "LPGA has stars and drama but could use a brighter stage," 24 June 2019

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

16 Aug 2019

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Time Traveler for telegenic

The first known use of telegenic was in 1936

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More Definitions for telegenic



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

Comments on telegenic

What made you want to look up telegenic? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to move or obtain by small maneuvers

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