Definition of genus in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˈdʒiːnəs/
Pronunciation: /ˈdʒɛnəs/

noun (plural genera /ˈdʒɛn(ə)rə/)

1A principal taxonomic category that ranks above species and below family, and is denoted by a capitalized Latin name, e.g. Leo.
Example sentences
  • The identification of two named genera in a single organism presents a taxonomic dilemma.
  • The cephalochordates include only about twenty species of two genera of organisms commonly called amphioxus.
  • Both the genus and species name of this aggressive flycatcher are from the Latin word for tyrant.
group, subdivision, subfamily
1.1(In philosophical and general use) a class of things which have common characteristics and which can be divided into subordinate kinds.
Example sentences
  • The subject genus of physics, for example, is the class of cases in which bodies change their locations in space.
  • Aristotle also points out that sometimes the hypothesis of the genus is omitted as too obvious.
  • The main genera of relativism can be distinguished according to the object they seek to relativize.
type, sort, kind, genre, style, variety, category, class;
species, breed, brand, make, model, family, stamp, cast, ilk, kidney;
division, subdivision, section, department, compartment


Mid 16th century: from Latin, 'birth, race, stock'.

  • gender from Late Middle English:

    The words gender and engender (Middle English) go back via Old French to Latin genus ‘birth, family, nation’, a word that was reborrowed in the early 17th century for scientific classification, although it had been in use 50 years earlier in logic. In modern French the ‘d’ was lost to produce genre, a word reborrowed in the early 19th century. Generation (Middle English), generate (early 16th century), engender (Middle English), generosity (Late Middle English), genial (mid 16th century), and degenerate (Late Middle English) are all from the same source.

Words that rhyme with genus

intravenous, Maecenas, Malvinas, Salinas, venous, Venus

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: genus

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.