Genre Meaning: Here’s What It Means and How To Use It?

Searching for information on the word genre? Read this complete guide where you’ll discover the definition, usage examples, and more.

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Even if you’re not a movie aficionado or an avid reader, you’ve likely come across the word “genre” before — but what exactly is a genre? 

In this article, we’ll provide you with everything you need to know about the term genre, including its definition, origin, and more. So if you’ve ever been curious about genres, keep reading.  

What Is the Definition of Genre?

/ˈʒɑːn.rə /ˈʒɑ̃ː.rə /ˈʒɒn.rə /

According to many trusted American English Dictionaries, a genre is a specific type of writing, music, or film — essentially, a particular type of art. 

Genre, when used in reference to literature or film, is based on the plot of the story, its subject, as well as its setting. When we use genre in reference to music, however, it simply refers to its musical style. 

Below you will find some of the most common musical genres and a few of their subgenres:

  • Alternative — grunge, punk, new-wave, progressive, lo-fi, and crossover thrash
  • Blues — NY blues, Kansas City blues, piano blues, and modern blues
  • Children’s Music — lullabies and sing-alongs
  • Classical — wedding music, symphony, sonata, orchestral, and chamber music 
  • Comedy — stand up comedy and parody music
  • Country — bluegrass, honky tonk, cowboy/ western, and outlaw country
  • Dance — dubstep, club, trance, techno, liquid dub, and house
  • Easy Listening — elevator and background
  • Electronic Music — ambient, drum & bass, electro, and Eurodance
  • Hip Hop/ Rap — g-funk, golden age, dirty south, and trap
  • Holiday — Christmas. Halloween, thanksgiving, and easter 
  • Jazz — contemporary jazz, smooth jazz, neo-swing, and Dixieland
  • Latin — cumbia, punta, mariachi, and mambo
  • Metal — speed metal, thrash metal, dark metal, black metal, and death metal
  • Pop — Europop, bubblegum pop, dance-pop, and wonky pop
  • R&B/ Soul — Subgenres include; doo-wop, funk, Motown, and soul
  • Reggae — ska, 2-tone, and reggae fusion
  • Rock — glam rock, rockabilly, metalcore, and alternative rock

In addition, you may see genre used as a modifier in genre painting. These paintings have Dometic scenes of everyday life at the center of their subject matter. 

What Is the Word Origin of Genre?

Believe it or not, the word genre dates back to the early 19th century. As with many words that are commonly used in daily conversation, genre comes from a language based on Latin — French. You see, genre derives from the French “genre,” which literally means “kind.”

Closely related to the word Genus, this word is one that you may have come across in science class. Genus, as well as genre, contain the root gen- which indicates that everything from a particular category (either genre or genus) belongs to the same family and in turn, has one origin. 

What Are the Common Types of Film Genres?

More often than not, the term genre is used to categorize film, namely movies and television shows. That said, genres on the big screen often overlap with one another. For example, you may see comedy in a romance (AKA rom-com). 

With that in mind, here are some of the most common film genres and their subgenres (when applicable):

  • Comedy Genre — Subgenres of the comedy genre; romantic comedy, screwball comedy, dark comedy, satire, slapstick comedy, and farce
  • Spy Genre
  • Fantasy Genre
  • Drama Genre
  • Adventure genre
  • Crime Genre 
  • Action Genre
  • Thriller Genre
  • Biography Genre
  • Film Noir
  • Neo-Noir
  • Mystery Genre
  • Science Fiction Genre 
  • War Genre
  • Horror Genre
  • Western Genre 

What Are the Synonyms and Antonyms of Genre?

To further your understanding of the word genre, let’s review a few synonyms and antonyms. 

A synonym is a word or phrase that means exactly or nearly the same as another word or phrase in a given language. Synonyms of genre include:

  • Type
  • Class
  • Kind
  • Writing style 
  • Species
  • Group
  • Tribe
  • Line 
  • Brand
  • Classification
  • Section
  • Strain
  • Model
  • Heirs and assigns
  • Category
  • Art form
  • Subdivision 
  • Variety
  • Breed
  • Menage 
  • Make 
  • Genealogy
  • Lineage
  • Ancestry
  • Kith and kin

An antonym is a word or phrase opposite in meaning to another. Antonyms of genre include:

  • Misrepresentation 
  • Individual
  • Whole
  • Psych out
  • Break up
  • Clutter 
  • Eccentricity 
  • Peculiarity 
  • Jumble 
  • Analogy 
  • Individualism 
  • Individuality 
  • Straying
  • Detour 
  • One
  • Unclassifiability 
  • Departure
  • Gracelessness 

How Can You Use Genre in a Sentence?

Now that you understand what a genre is, it’s time to put your newfound knowledge to the test! Practice using the word genre in a sentence or feel free to explore our usage examples listed below:

“I have never been one to watch any film out of the thriller genre, I am just far too jumpy.” 

“Mrs. Baker asked us to write a short story from a genre of our choice — so of course I picked sci-fi!”

“I knew it was love at first sight when John told me his favorite movie genre was horror.”

“After reading several books from various genres, I can confidently say that romance novels are my all-time fav.”

“Sarah can’t watch any movies that fall under the blood and guts genre or it’ll give her nightmares.” 

What Are Translations of Genre?

Although there are a number of ways one can say “genre,” some of the most common translations include:

  • Italian: genere 
  • Japanese: ジャンル
  • Korean: 장르
  • British English: genre
  • European Portuguese: género 
  • Spanish: género 
  • American English: genre 
  • Brazilian Portuguese: gênero 
  • Chinese: 体裁文学、绘画、音乐、电影等艺术作品的
  • European Spanish: género 
  • French: genre 
  • German: Genre
  • Thai: ประเภทของงานวรรณกรรม ภาพวาด ดนตรี และภาพยนตร์

Bottom Line

Simply put, genre can be defined as a category of musical, artistic, or literary composition characterized by a particular form, style, or content. Some of the most popular genres include rock, romance, rap, country, suspense, metal, horror, and jazz. 


  1. Genre Synonyms | Collins English Thesaurus 
  2. GENRE definition | The Cambridge English Dictionary
  3. What does genre mean? Best 9 Definitions of Genre | Your Dictionary