\ ˈzhän-rə How to pronounce genre (audio) , ˈzhäⁿ-; ˈzhäⁿr; ˈjän-rə \

Definition of genre

1 : a category of artistic, musical, or literary composition characterized by a particular style, form, or content a classic of the gothic novel genre
2 : kind, sort
3 : painting that depicts scenes or events from everyday life usually realistically

Did you know?

Genre, as you might guess from the way it sounds, comes straight from French, a language based on Latin. It's closely related to genus, a word you may have encountered in biology class. Both words contain the gen- root because they indicate that everything in a particular category (a genre or a genus) belongs to the same "family" and thus has the same origins. So the main genres of classical music would include symphonies, sonatas, and opera, and the major genres of literature would include novels, short stories, poetry, and drama. But within the category of novels, we could also say that detective novels, sci-fi novels, romance novels, and young-adult novels are separate genres.

Examples of genre in a Sentence

In genre fiction there is an implied contract between writer and reader that justice of a kind will be exacted; "good" may not always triumph over "evil," but the distinction between the two must be honored. — Joyce Carol Oates, New York Review of Books, 14 Aug. 2003 One of the first marketers outside of hip-hop to recognize the power of the genre …  . he first sent models sashaying down the runway in 1991 in hip-hop chic, with sneakers and chunky gold chains … — Johnnie L. Roberts, Newsweek, 2 Sept. 2002 Even the local Catholic archdiocesan weekly, hardly an exciting genre, offers a more provocative sampling of opinion on its editorial page. — Walker Percy, "New Orleans Mon Amour," 1968, in Signposts in a Strange Land1991 This book is a classic of the mystery genre. the novel's hero is of a different genre than the traditional kind
Recent Examples on the Web Lake Nona January 2023, boasts an all-female genre-spanning musical lineup. Annie Reuter, Forbes, 1 Aug. 2022 Groove to the freestyling, genre-bending rock of Phish at Merriweather Post Pavilion, 10475 Little Patuxent Parkway. John Coffren, Baltimore Sun, 28 July 2022 The Arab American artist is known for his genre-defying, uplifting sound and mood-lifting, soulful lyrics about love and self-care — a breath of fresh air in a world that can be hard on us. Stephanie Williams, Washington Post, 28 July 2022 Its genre-bending art rock is hard to label – and to market to the masses. Stephen Humphries, The Christian Science Monitor, 22 July 2022 Now with The Gap, Ye is rewriting what is possible when one of the world’s most genre-defying artists forges a more meaningful relationship in fashion. Steff Yotka, Vogue, 20 July 2022 The clip opens with a voiceover from Allison, explaining what the genre-defying series is all about. Emma Becker,, 18 July 2022 What results is a genre-defying, funny season that keeps you guessing until the very last moment. The Editors, Town & Country, 16 July 2022 Apple TV+ should have a pair of new nominees here, with the propulsive, genre-bending strangeness of Severance and astonishing scope, production values and ensemble of Pachinko. Daniel Fienberg, The Hollywood Reporter, 24 June 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'genre.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of genre

1770, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for genre

French, from Middle French, kind, gender — more at gender

Learn More About genre

Dictionary Entries Near genre




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for genre

Last Updated

4 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Genre.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Aug. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More from Merriam-Webster on genre

Nglish: Translation of genre for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of genre for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about genre


Test Your Vocabulary

Words Named After People

  • name tags
  • Namesake of the leotard, Jules Léotard had what profession?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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