Word of the Day : January 24, 2011

telegenic

play
adjective tel-uh-JEN-ik

Definition

: well-suited to the medium of television; especially : having an appearance and manner that are markedly attractive to television viewers

Did You Know?

"Telegenic," which first appeared in print in 1939, 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

This year's playoffs will feature some very telegenic rookies playing alongside veterans destined for the Hall of Fame.

"What readers remember from the rolling thunder of Mailer's extravagant prose production … was the enshrouding of J.F.K. as the first movie-star politician, the avatar and launch vehicle for the suppressed libido of the country's Hollywood dream life after the long lullaby of the Eisenhower era. With J.F.K., telegenic charisma became part of the package deal." -- From an article by James Wolcott in Vanity Fair, September 2010



Test Your Memory

What is the meaning of "proselytize," our featured word from January 5, 2011? The answer is ...


Podcast


More Words of the Day

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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